By definition, the word ‘alignment’ refers to an ‘arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions’ or a ‘position of agreement or alliance’. In business, entrepreneurs often put a high priority on external alignment amongst customers, clients, and competitors. But internal alignment is the backbone of achieving that external success.
So, what are some internal alignment examples, and how can you re-align your internal strategy to achieve specific goals or growth? Keep reading as we answer all the top questions on internal alignment so you can begin improving yours.
What is internal alignment?
It’s only natural for new businesses to become misaligned internally as they grow, especially at a rapid rate. Your ideas and vision have taken off, but you’re so busy keeping up with the speed that you haven’t looked at how that growth has affected the workforce that helped you get there.
For instance, you may have expanded departments to include marketing, yet haven’t fine-tuned how that department works internally and externally. Or, you may be having trouble financing that growth and don’t have procedures in place to address the shortfalls. Either way, an internal alignment strategy looks at your current business structure and re-aligns it to scale growth or achieve new goals or accomplishments.
Like the definition says, ‘alignment’ is an arrangement in a straight line that should be centered on the business’s core value or mission. When working on internal alignment, this may require re-defining this mission to ensure your line is appropriately mapped out to reach it.
Without precise internal alignment, your employees can get stressed out quickly if they are being pulled in different directions or don’t know what the main goals of their position are. This factor then affects external competitiveness, where another similar company may have more to offer, not just in pay but also in a healthier workplace, with organized routines that are less stressful and manic to support.
What is the difference between internal and external alignment?
Now that we better understand how internal alignment strengthens a company’s ability to achieve goals, let’s go more in-depth on the difference between internal and external alignment. External alignment describes a company’s achieving or maintaining an appropriate position amongst competitors and in the eyes of their target market of customers. It can also refer to the strength of a business’s relationships with key vendors or partners, which is required to supplement the services or products offered. In both instances, external alignment is essential to the health of the business since customers and competitors ultimately affect the profits you take in.
But a sound internal alignment strategy is what powers the machine to achieve these external positions, and helps bolster long-term growth and continued success. This means, no matter how strong your external alignment is, it’ll only get you so far in the long run without an equally matched internal alignment structure.
What is internal alignment compensation?
During your internal alignment strategy sessions and looking at different positions within your structure, naturally, the conversation of compensation will arise. At its core, internal alignment compensation describes the relationship of pay between one job and another within an organization. Or, how much one job receives in compensation relative to another.
How does compensation affect the internal structure overall and support your business’s future goals, you may ask? The pay structure you set should ultimately support your company’s strategy, appropriately support the flow of work required by individual employees, and motivate the work that employees are expected to put forth towards the organization’s objectives, core values, and mission.
The importance of internal alignment
When thinking of whether or not your business should consider an internal alignment strategy, think of your employees as a sports team. When they get out on the field, – do they know all the plays? Do they know how to work together as a team to score? Or, are they all playing individually to do their best at their position without thinking of the team or mission as a whole?
Internally aligning your business structures will help designate metrics to meet, customer outcomes to achieve, and streamline messaging so everyone is on the same page (or play) with external parties like customers, vendors, and partners.
Employees with a fine-tuned and focused directional path can put their abilities towards the momentum or speed of achieving the end goal. Rather than working haphazardly in day-to-day tasks in an attempt to simply fill their individual job description or role. In doing so, you can help boost morale and company successes since every department will have some type of ‘hand’ in growth vs. individualizing wins or teams.
How to implement an internal alignment strategy
Now that you know more about the basics of alignment, you can see the benefits of taking the time to implement an internal alignment strategy. So, how can you start? By partnering with a consultant who’s been in your shoes before.
At Double Iron Consulting, we partner with small, family, and big businesses to develop and implement strategies that ensure longevity no matter the market you’re in. Business veteran Bill Smith is at the helm of Double Iron and a third-generation leader of a prominent coffee business in the South who has decades of experience in aligning internal structures for success.
As you look towards the end of 2022 and goals for 2023, consider just how internal alignment can help and the value of bringing in an expert to help you level up. With recent economic turbulence, there’s no better time than now!
So, schedule a free strategy call with Bill now to get ahead.