The What and The Why of Strategic Alignment

25 Oct

Since the influential paper by Henderson and Venkatraman, many different avenues of research on strategic alignment have been published. They started the overall question of the what and the why of strategic alignment. It has developed from binary terms to today’s view of it being portrayed as a ‘multidimensional process-level of construct’ (Tallon, P. 2001). Meaning Strategic Alignment is not as easy for a business to concur as one may think and that it can take some time to perfect. If you take The Red Arrows as an example, they all have to align with one another in sync, if one plane steps off balance it throws off all the planes, the same idea can be applied to an organisation, if Strategic Alignment is not in place then the whole organisation becomes off-balance. I am sure the Red Arrows have to practice and perfect flying in a diamond line formation before it becomes successful, the same can be said for Strategic Alignment.

It would seem that to have a successful and profitable business, strategy is one of the key elements and linking the company’s strategy of technology and business in my view is still very relevant in today’s world. This article on Business Know outlines five key steps which should be considered to ensure proper strategic alignment within an organisation.

1. They suggest that employees should have the conceptual tools needed for a good strategic plan.

2.It states that it is imperative that employees understand the strategy.

3. Is to ensure that strategic alignment is interlinked in the structure of an organisation.

4. That strategy must be included in the core structure of individual jobs.

5. If a company decides on a strategy that it must be carried out throughout the company (strategic alignment).

By reading those five points, you may come to the conclusion that strategic alignment is not an unachievable concept. The following piece

written by Larry Myler, states that:

•65% of organizations have an agreed-upon strategy.

•14% of employees understand the organization’s strategy.

•Less than 10% of all organizations successfully execute the strategy.

From these statistics Larry has outlined, it shows there is a huge drop from 65% of organisations agreeing on a strategy to less than 10% of them actually doing anything with the strategy. As blogger pm1083

has pointed out ‘in practice strategic alignment is not as easy to establish’ as one may think. It takes careful planning from all departments to ensure a successful outcome.  The Strategic Blogger

has also weighed in on how ‘the failure of IT-Business projects is often attributed to an “execution gap”. Just because a company has technically a good strategy and good strategic alignment in place, it is irrelevant unless it can be implemented properly throughout the company.  In the article ‘Strategy 101: It’s all about Alignment’, Larry stresses the important of strategic alignment stating how it is a ‘critical element’ in the strategy process of a business. This ties in with the question of if Strategic Alignment is still important today or if it is seen as passé? If something can be described as a ‘critical element’ then surely it cannot be described as being passé.

Please feel free to share your views on my take of the importance of Strategic Alignment in today’s world.


8 Responses to “The What and The Why of Strategic Alignment”


  1. The Importance of People: Strategic Alignment Through the Organisation Chart « So Opinionated … - October 27, 2012

    […] previously mentioned by 04ac, Larry Myler of Forbes identifies […]

  2. Strategic Alignment Challenges: Communication « So Opinionated … - October 27, 2012

    […] and those who will be necessary in this process. I believe that is what poster o4ac may have been referring to when they discussed strategic alignment being “interlinked in the structure of an organisation” […]

  3. Good technology, bad business model. « So Opinionated … - October 27, 2012

    […] the strategy as mentioned by 04ac in “The What and The Why of Strategic Alignment”.( This aspect shows the importance of people in the information systems strategic […]

  4. The Strategic Alignment Model « So Opinionated … - November 1, 2012

    […] However I think while the model is of  great use to the management of an organisation it is still important that all staff members of  the organisation are aware of the organisations goals. If all members of staff are aware of the company’s vision and strategy then achieving strategic alignment will be a lot easier. In this regard I would say that it is the managements job to use tools like the strategic alignment pyramid to set out a vision and strategy, but then this strategy must be relayed to all staff members so that they are all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. The blogger 04ac makes a point of this in their last blog . […]

  5. How Strategic Alignment can help a business gain competitive advantage « So Opinionated … - November 3, 2012

    […] […]

  6. The Strategic Alignment Case Study « So Opinionated … - November 8, 2012

    […] of the attributes of successful strategic alignment have been outlined by Pm1083, 04ac. I hope that this post provides further insight. A key conclusion I would take from this is how […]

  7. The Strive to Achieve Strategic Alignment! « So Opinionated … - November 22, 2012

    […] by making sure it is incorporated into the core of the business and employees who work there . In covering a blog on Strategic Alignment and competitive advantage, I highlighted the view by […]

  8. Strategic Alignment: Why even bother?? « So Opinionated … - November 24, 2012

    […] They also mention how Strategic Alignment “enhances business performance through aligning the organisational and technological infrastructures”.  Any business tool which has the ability to enhance business performance is a critical element to a business as I previously covered in ‘The What and The Why of Strategic Alignment’ […]

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