Are you Strategically Aligned? - Lifework Systems

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”


Henry David Thoreau

What many business owners fail to realize is that if employees are not aligned with their organization’s purpose, values and vision (in this order), or have failed to establish their own intrinsic purposes for their daily work, they are unlikely to be aligned with the associated goals, strategies and roles, setting in motion the following five predictable steps of disengagement. Employees typically:

  1. Start their job with enthusiasm
  2. Question their decision to accept the job
  3. Think seriously about quitting
  4. Try to change things
  5. Resolve to quit

Conversely, when employees feel connected to what the company is trying to cause beyond making a profit, they have a clear understanding of how important the products and services you provide are to your customers and community. They also see a clear connection between what they do and the success of your organization in fulfilling its purpose. As a result, aligned employees see their work as meaningful. They look forward to coming to work, and have a sense of pride in what they do and your organization. They can be counted on! So as a business owner, you may be wondering where do I start? How do I create alignment? Click on image below to watch video.

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First measure and then re-measure the degree to which your employees are aligned with your organization’s purpose, values, vision, goals, proceduresroles. Then track how much clarity and approval each has about them until you have achieved improvement.

Your Blueprint

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of things brought together.” 

– Vincent Van Gogh

Next, you need a “blueprint” of your company’s Purpose, Values, Vision, Goals, Procedures and Roles.

How do you do this?

Step 1: Causing Good (Mission/Purpose)

Key Question: Beyond survival and making a profit, what good am I committed to causing?

Guidelines: Keep your purpose statement simple, memorable, a few key touch words (e.g. words in bold)

Examples of Missions: (establish one for individuals, organizations, projects, or processes)

  • Mission: “Creating a WOW experience through Service” (Zappo’s)
  • Mission: “Catalyst for Confidence and Shine” (local company)
  • Mission: “Create a World Where People Love Their Lives” (Judy Ryan)

Step 2: Behaving and Being (Values)

Key Question: How do I be and behave to cause the good I’m committed to causing?

Guidelines: Create key words and strategies to integrate values; clarify input from all.

Examples of Values: (from Zappo’s – two values and one of many strategies adopted for each)

  • Value: “Embrace and Drive Change” Strategy: Encouraged customers to call/talk at length
  • Value: “ Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit” Strategy: Daily introduction of co-workers

Step 3: Describing Best Outcomes (Vision)

Key Question: What forms or expressions does the good I’m causing take?  In the next 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?

Guidelines: State each form or expression (often more than 1) in simple sentences. Write descriptive, specific paragraph

Examples of Visions:

  • Vision: “Create a project management process to support and reassure clients”(local company)
  • Vision: “Partner with thought leaders to accelerate work in culture change” (Judy Ryan)
  • Vision: “Grow the company to over $1 Billion within 10 years” (Zappo’s)

Step 4: Organizing What By When (Goals)

Key Question: What specific goals and strategies do I commit to fulfill to achieve my vision?

Guidelines: Be specific, and make them measurable, time-bound (see red below), determine who does each task and who is there to support, witness and celebrate progress

Sample Vision: “Partner with thought leaders to accelerate culture change” (Judy Ryan)

I WantBy When    Qty      Strategy                         Procedures                         Roles            Witness          
To meet area thought leaders July 13Identify leaders to discuss goals and introduce model▢   ID list of candidates▢   Make intro calls▢   Set up appointmentsAssistantMeAssistantBill
5Rally brand champions to make introductions▢   Create/send email▢   Schedule meetingsMe AssistantBill

Step 5: Designing Action Steps (Procedures)

Key Question: What specific steps and procedures do I follow to fulfill each goal?

Guidelines: Be specific, and make them measurable, time-bound (see black below), determine who does each task and who is there to support, witness and celebrate progress

Sample Vision: “Partner with thought leaders to accelerate culture change” (Judy Ryan)

I WantBy WhenQty  StrategyProcedures          RolesWitness    
To meet area thought leadersJuly 13Identify leaders to discuss goals and introduce model▢   ID list of candidates         ▢   Make intro calls▢   Set up appointments          AssistantMeAssistantBill
5Rally brand champions to make introductions▢   Create/send email ▢   Schedule meetings Me AssistantBill

Step 6: Assigning the Right People (Roles)

Key Question: Who are the best candidates to fulfill on each procedure?

Guidelines: Be specific, and make them measurable, time-bound, and determine who does each task and who is there to support, witness and celebrate progress (see black below)

Sample Vision: “Partner with thought leaders to accelerate culture change” (Judy Ryan)

I WantBy WhenQty  StrategyProceduresRolesWitness   
To meet area thought leadersJuly 13Identify leaders to discuss goals and introduce model▢   ID list of candidates▢   Make intro calls▢   Set up appointmentsAssistantMeAssistantBill 
5Rally brand champions to make introductions▢   Create/send email▢   Schedule meetingsMe AssistantBill 

The Relevance

When you determine the most meaningful purpose for your business, make it easy to remember, define your values, and consistently communicate each to your staff, you have created a solid foundation for engagement. Then the specific expressions of your company’s purpose drives your company’s goals, procedures and roles. As you take the time to introduce, discuss and fine-tune these with your employees, you can count on them to be productive and enthusiastic. You then have a powerful team, with everyone moving in the same direction. When the janitor at NASA was asked, “What do you do here?” he responded, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon!” In this same way, taking time to align your staff with the good you are causing is key to inspiring proactive, responsible employees you can count on!

This article and video can also be found on www.e4ecommunity.com. The training workshop expanding on this content is Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail and can be purchased live or in our interactive eLearning version or audio versions in our LifeWork Systems Store.