Thursday, March 14, 2019

Misalignment as a Pitfall of Digital Transformation

Strategic alignment occurs when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts in harmony to achieve a higher purpose.

Going digital represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with people at the center of its focus. There will be a challenging time on the road ahead for sure. Strategic alignment is a structural process and the result of linking the organizational strategy and its objectives with every unit/business functions and employee. Alignment is fundamental and multidimensional to ensure a seamless strategy implementation. Misalignment is often caused by a lack of systems thinking, dysfunctional management behavior, and outdated practices. Here are three causes of misalignment.

Role conflict or differing priorities: When different shareholders push the business to different directions, change gets stuck and digital transformation is stalled. Role conflict or differing priority is often the cause of misalignment. More specifically, misalignment is caused by silo thinking, miscommunication, lack of cross-functional understanding, or simply wrong people put in the wrong position to solve the wrong problems. In case the problem is due to infighting, and then a strong vision statement can frequently align differing priorities, and resolve issues. To dig further from a strategic management perspective, the strategic misalignment is caused by the failure to translate the high-level language of business strategic goals into the tactical functional goals or objectives and then into the professional language of the various staff specialism or the specific working tasks. To overcome challenges, business leaders and managers need to work across-lines for enforcing communication, making the strategic adjustment, and creating synergy to ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

Process friction:
With fast-paced changes and technology-led disruptions, many of today’s organizations are running in between - the mix of old and new; the different departments or divisions within an organization operate in different speeds. Thus, business managers need to make an objective observation on how their group works with other groups, any frictions existing to decrease productivity, diminish innovation, or decelerate business speed. Lack of systems thinking perspective, systematic processes or having overly rigid processes would cause business friction as well. Digital platforms enabled by emerging technologies, efficient apps, and tools, help to lubricate processes, flatten business hierarchies, and keep the information, ideas, and business flow smoothly. An organization can make a smooth alignment and approach a flow zone when people are ready for moving to a fluid structure, and digital leaders are eager to set stages and drive a frictionless, immersive, and relentless digital transformation.

The outdated structures, methods, and culture: Business transformation often means you need to fine-tune the underlying organizational structures or optimize organizational processes to streamline business flow and rejuvenate the culture to inspire changes. Keep in mind though, what is “best” yesterday will not always be the best tomorrow. Business alignment means you have to understand the struggles of companies, deal with business conflict, maintain and fix any imbalance in key business elements such as people, process, and technology, and update structures, methodologies, and cultures. It requires continuous business optimization through a serious amount of positive communication whilst continuously looking for a cost-efficient replacement of unstable or "old" processes, tighten coordination and collaboration with business partners. In today’s hybrid businesses, the physical organizational structure, relationships, and virtual platforms and social connections wrap around each other to ensure clear responsibility, smooth information flow, seamless alignment, and engaged workforce to accelerate changes and foster innovation.

The strategic alignment occurs when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts in harmony to achieve a higher purpose. Those organizations that have a higher mature strategic alignment through integration, collaboration and harmony, etc. will outperform their competitors and tend to be more responsive to the business dynamic and reach the next level of organizational maturity.


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