As noted previously in The 4 types of organizations – What stage is your Organizational Leadership in?, an organization needing realignment has a foundation and multiple strengths, this group needs some redirection to get it back on the path to a sustaining success or successful organization. Maybe you are beefing up some of the leadership areas, realigning your target market or niche.
Michael Watkins indicates in The First 90 Days that these organizations have “serious constraints on what you can and cannot do… You have the challenge of revitalizing a unit, product, process, or project that is drifting into trouble.”
How do I know this?
This reminds me a lot of what individuals and organizations have done as we start to make our way out of the Recession. Many of us may be in completely different careers, maybe we have realigned or transferred skills from one profession to another. Businesses or organizations may have shifted their focus to new markets. Maybe you are updating your skills and processes to be more competitive. Maybe you are realigning so that you are aligned with your core beliefs and values.
I’m working with a non-profit group that will be 60 years old in 2014. They have a solid foundation for their program. Where they struggle is membership. They meet from 7:10-8:00 every Tuesday morning. We are realigning their marketing to speak to the benefits and value that they provide busy professionals who want leadership and communication training to advance their careers, but who also value their time with family and personal pursuits in the evenings.
Three quick tips for an organization going through a realignment:
1. Assess your strengths and weakness
We all need to constantly assess our strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the problems in the market and what our clients want. As Daniel Burrus noted in Fail Faster, there is always someone out there who can move faster. A realignment takes time, but you must make the change if you want to move forward or if you want your organization to survive.
Example: While working for a 30+ year old firm at the start of the recession, they made the choice to dig in and lay off some of their top talent to focus solely on a market that was hit the hardest (residential design). In order to compete with the people they had laid off, they had to drop their fees. Strengths: They have a broad knowledge base regarding the community and the residential architecture industry; well known in the luxury residential real estate industry. Weaknesses: Inefficient business and drafting processes; not effectively using the talent within;some leadership/management issues; the geographic area is approaching build-out for luxury real-estate new construction.
2. Plan a strategy
As you get a feel for where you are from your assessment, put together a strategic plan. This is essentially where you are now, where you want to be, and the steps it will take to get there. It is goals, which as you may have heard should be SMART.
Measurable or Motivational
3. Build Support
It’s important to take into account the culture of the organization. This may need some realignment also if there is a poor work ethic or poor management/leadership. It will take serious effort to re-energize a group if they have become apathetic or demoralized.
For organizations, the leadership and management will need to talk through the changes with the group. For some individuals, you may need to explain the importance of the changes if there are some strongly held beliefs that don’t serve the group anymore. Worst case scenario: you may have to fire some people so that the group can move forward. Flip side, you may need to hire some people who can bring in new energy. Don’t keep negative energy though, it brings the whole organization down.
For individuals, you may need to join new groups and start hanging out with new people. Some people may not support your decision to change. Keep moving forward with your strategic plan.
An organization or individual doing a realignment has to break through some personal barriers. We do not always see our blind spots. It is important to get the help you need to make this transition or transformation.