Southwest Airlines organizational alignment

The Value in Organizational Alignment: Why It’s Important and How Do You Get There?


George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  We’ve all seen this notion play out in our personal lives, but in an organizational context, the effect can quickly multiply and potentially impact the success of a company.

 

The importance of alignment between leaders and employees around an organization’s mission, vision and core values can’t be overstated.  Time and again, you’ve read the correlation between the bottom line and employee buy-in.  “Buy-in” begins with leadership clearly stating what the company does, where it’s going and what it believes.

 

Companies can start by crafting a clear mission statement that every employee understands and embraces.  If your organization needs help with this process, Performance Culture can walk you through its performance management template by answering some questions like:

 

Why should customers buy from us?

Why should employees work with us?

Why should investors invest in us?

Why should our community support us?

 

After a mission statement is created, display it prominently where every employee can see it.  Then, give life to your mission by telling stories highlighting how your mission is lived out daily through the work of employees.

 

Next, companies look ahead and begin creating a vision.  As part of its performance management process,  Performance Culture suggests answering questions like these:

 

What types of products and services do you want to provide in 5 years?

What will your ideal customer be?

How big do you want to be?

 

Finally, companies define their core values.  This is the “personality” of an organization–How do we act? How do we treat others? What sets us apart from other organizations?  One of the most notable examples of organizational alignment is Southwest Airlines.  Southwest chose three values that motivate their people:  having a warrior spirit, a servant’s heart and a fun- “luving” attitude.  Southwest preserves its culture during the hiring process and fiercely protects it in all aspects of daily company life.  Employees and leadership alike, believe in these core values and live them out every day.

 

Imagine how gratifying it is for an employee to actually believe in the mission of his company.  To feel a personal investment in the success or failure of the organization and to identify the role he plays in company achievement.  Alignment between an organization’s leadership and its employees makes for a better workplace AND for more successful organizational outcomes.

Author: Amy Barnhill

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