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Best Practices for Organizational Alignment

In addition to navigating through common problems in the workplace, middle managers must make sure they stay organized and focus on setting up their departments for success. High-impact organizational alignment is a set of practices that enables middle managers to keep their structures and processes relevant and productive. These practices are founded on the fundamental question Is this department set up for success? Once the big picture is clear, managers can begin to focus on aspects of the structures and processes that need attention to deliver results. Organizational alignment should follow these best practices:

Practice 1:Clarify the Department’s Vision, Purpose, and Goals. The middle manager, the manager, and the team should all agree on the vision of the department’s success and the expectations the company has for the department.

Practice 2:Use Clean Slate Creativity to Design an Ideal Organizational Model. The design process should start with a clean slate before considering current resources, processes, and roles. For this exercise, managers should not think about the current processes. Instead, they should define how the work would be designed if nothing were already in place. It may be helpful to have the entire team contribute to creating this design.

Practice 3:Compare Department Needs, the Ideal Plan, and Current Roles and Processes. Once the ideal organizational design is complete, middle managers will be ready to bring the current reality into the realignment process and conversation. During this part of the realignment, managers will need to blend the ideal scenario with current roles, personnel, and processes.

Practice 4:Generate Alternatives for Organizational Improvement. Because there is often more than one workable scenario, it is generally best to prepare and present alternatives for organizational improvement. As the planning progresses, managers may eliminate choices based on several criteria, including cost, ease of use, technology, and mucky-muck.

Practice 5:Realign Structure, Processes, Roles and Procedures. To ensure team members and peers support the new way of doing the work, middle managers should:

* Work with management and human resources on the timing of the plan’s implementation, especially if any individual jobs are affected.

* Communicate the vision, the realignment plan, the transition plan, and the role of each team member.

* Create a project plan for the transition of roles and processes. Ensure that all team members and affected peers have a current copy of the plan. Hold daily or weekly progress chats as needed.

* Be sincerely open and ready to listen to concerns, suggestions, and questions.

Practice 6:Measure and Monitor Processes and the Work Flow. Since increased efficiency and effectiveness were why changes were made in the first place, manages must regularly evaluate new processes and roles to test their results.

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