Key Areas To Aligning Performance To Corporate Strategy And Goals

It used to be that performance management was managed in one department. Today, performance management has spread throughout the entire organization, where almost every division must focus on performance management to some degree in order to be successful. Despite this wider range of performance management, enterprise-wide performance initiatives are not widely practiced. And without an enterprise approach, it is extremely difficult to align your performance to organizational goals and objectives.

According to software vendor SAS, a recent survey of 1100 businesses revealed that performance alignment was the PRIMARY benefit companies hoped to receive from their performance management efforts. Aligning performance to your organization’s goals and objectives is critical to your organization’s success. On the other side, lack of alignment increases inefficiencies and risks and prevents optimal execution of the organizational strategy.

Think of this scenario as a model for linking corporate strategy to business objectives:

The executive board collaborates high-level strategic planning and identifies goals for the CEO and organization. The CEO then meets with his/her senior executives who in turn develop objectives derived from the CEOs goals and integrates those goals into the strategic plan. In turn, those executives meet with their managers who develop objectives derived from the strategic plan, and so on. Then, each subordinate goal is tied to one or more goals of their manager. Ideally, the final result is that every tracked goal in the entire company can map back to a corporate objective developed by the board.

Chances of organizational success are greatly increased by translating each high-level objective into a cascading series of focused performance measures. Using our previous example, the CEO may focus on net cash flow while the CFO looks at debt-to-equity ratio. The controller may focus on liquidity ratio, while the accounts receivable manager looks at days sales outstanding, and the accounts receivable clerk worries about percent of collections over 30/60/90 days.

This article discusses aligning corporate strategy to four key areas: departments/ divisions, workforce, finance, and systems.

Departmental Performance Alignment

Departmental performance alignment can be difficult when business processes within an organization span across multiple business units and functional support groups. To avoid bottlenecks, finger-pointing, and redundancy of work, shared performance measures that align people across organizational boundaries must be identified and responsibilities accounted for. For instance, a performance measure that includes percent of collections over 30/60/90 days might be applied both to accounts receivables clerks and sales representatives, thus sharing and integrating performance measures, encouraging collaboration and boosting overall performance.

Workforce Performance Alignment

When workforce performance is aligned with corporate objectives individuals in an organization develop a stake in that organization’s performance. Employees at every level are measured by something they understand and control, and that same measure is clearly linked to the goals of their direct supervisor and the organization as a whole.

Financial Performance Alignment

In an economy where results need to be achieved fast and investor confidence is low, CFOs and finance organizations are implementing integrated performance management to improve information quality and visibility. One challenge organizations face aligning performance is finding financial measures that are meaningful to those responsible for carrying out the work. Using the previous example net cash flow is a critical performance measure for executives, but it probably means very little to the accounts receivable clerk who has no idea of how their contribution improves net cash flow performance. Stick with simple financial metrics that employees can understand and control.

System Performance Alignment

The IT/IS department’s role is to provide technical support for the entire organization. While we know that this alone is a complex task, today’s business model requires systems to not only support users, but to align technology to meet the business needs of the organization. Understanding business unit objectives and translating them quickly and accurately into IT priorities is essential today. So how does an organization measure how well their systems are aligned to organizational objectives? By implementing vehicles for aligning and measuring IT performance, such as service level agreements, performance-based contracts, and products and services catalogs to generate reports that illustrate how well they are measuring up to business objectives.

If you can move closer to aligning performance in these areas your organization will be well on it’s way to surpassing all of it’s goals and objectives. While the goal of a performance initiative is to align performance to organizational strategy, it is most important to maintain flexibility and adapt to organizational changes quickly.

About Victor Holman

Victor Holman is a business performance and growth strategy coach, consultant, international speaker, entrepreneur and creator of the Business Performance Portal. He has provided his expertise to over 50 government agencies worldwide and hundreds of corporations of all sizes. His goal is to help small businesses outperform their competition by applying business growth strategies and assessment tools that work for large, successful businesses.

He provides business consulting for small and large size organizations, business coaching, team performance workshops, and in-depth on-site business assessments for business owners trying to take their business to the next level. His highly acclaimed Insider’s Secrets Club delivers fast, simple, easy to implement strategies for growing your business fast!

You can access his FREE business assessment tools, business management kits, business training programs, videos, templates, and more at http://www.lifecycle-performance-pros.com

The Academy Of Business Strategy – The Closely Guarded Recruitment Secret

The recruitment industry has always been reactive by nature. This is not intended to be a criticism in any way, it is just considered to be convention within the industry. An employer advertises a vacancy, a candidate advertises their CV. Prospective candidates are forwarded onto the employer and prospective vacancies are similarly forwarded onto the candidate. This will invariably result in thousands of candidates applying for each individual vacancy and success is ultimately determined by the efficiency of each individual employer’s recruitment procedure. Candidates are always powerless throughout this process. The introduction of online job boards through the internet has only served to exasperate this problem. They tend to identify success in terms of quantity rather than quality. They will proudly advertise that they have thousands or even millions of candidates registered with them. They will also have hundreds or thousands of vacancies listed too. The implication being of course that if they serve this many customers then they must be good. Having said this, online job boards do provide an important service now within the recruitment industry. They provide portals where both candidates and employers can be introduced to each-other and the service which they provide is far more cost-effective than traditional offline advertising and in most cases they provide a more efficient service too. Unfortunately it does not really do very much to help candidates gain better employment and it is still rather like looking for a needle in a haystack. This is because the service which they provide merely ensures that more and more applicants apply to each individual vacancy. It is also widely accepted within the recruitment industry that any vacancy which we may see advertised is always a peripheral vacancy. What is meant by this is that they tend to be general vacancies which arise from prescriptive change such as expansion, or a merger or acquisition. The very fact that the organization does not have anyone in mind for this vacancy who could be promoted from within tells you that the vacancy is probably a peripheral one. Core vacancies are never advertised. The organization will already have internal candidates in mind for these positions and they are too important to risk employing a candidate who is considered to be an unknown quantity. Consequently core vacancies are always the ones we should be targeting. They are the vacancies which constitute power, influence and life-changing personal benefits. A senior manager or partner at a major financial institution, retail organization or manufacturing company will earn an annual salary amounting to several hundred thousand dollars for their services. A senior Director or Executive Officer at the same company will earn an annual salary amounting to several million dollars for their services. How many jobs do you actually see advertised with annual salaries that exceed 250,000.00 USD? There are traditional recruitment companies who practise what is commonly known as head-hunting, but these still tend to be for peripheral positions. The reality is that anyone who achieves a core vacancy within a major global organization will have developed and implemented a successful career management strategy over a sustainable period of time. It is quite literally the difference between success and failure. Recruitment companies and online job boards alike are already thinking of innovative ways in which they can provide better services. Improving online technology is to some extent gradually enabling them to do this. There are growing improvements in terms of the search engines that are used to pre-qualify candidates for employers and conversely to pre-qualify employers for candidates. However the more recruitment companies or online job boards which choose to move in this direction the more they will have to charge candidates and employers for the services they provide, whereas registration, particularly for candidates has been largely free of charge and candidates have grown accustomed to this of course. It is already clear that those recruitment companies who are starting to charge candidates for the service that they provide, tend to provide much better services. The old adage that “you always get for what you pay” tends to apply here. Ultimately these changes while providing some improvement in the professionalism of recruitment companies and online job boards over time will not change anything at all concerning the type of vacancies advertised. Advertised vacancies will always be peripheral. Candidates who have the most successful careers are always those who are proficient at managing their own career management strategy. It is true that we cannot all aspire to be the CEO of Microsoft, General Motors, HSBC Bank, or Mittal. But we can still ensure that we at least have the opportunity to achieve as much as we can with our careers and we will not achieve this if we are reactive by nature and if we do not take personal responsibility at some point for our own career development. After all an individual’s career development surely constitutes a core activity, not a peripheral one!