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From Apple to Zappos, every successful company has its own distinct corporate culture.

Whether you are observing the leaders’ strategic decision making, HR’s hiring practices, or the marketing team at work, this culture permeates everything the company does.

When corporate culture does not align with the strategic goals of the company, optimal performance will be impossible to sustain.

Just as a garden must be carefully tended to keep weeds from taking it over, culture must be consciously maintained to prevent it from morphing into something unintended.

The consequences of culture-strategy misalignment: If you follow business news, you may be aware that a large number of corporate snafus can be blamed on the misalignment of culture within an organisation. Allowing culture and strategy to fall out of alignment can bring leaders face-to-face with far-reaching consequences. These include:

  • Lost sense of mission. When strategy and a strong culture are aligned, they create a sort of compass effect that gives employees a sense of clarity and a mission that guides their actions and decisions. When that alignment fails, many employees default to self-serving behaviours and the sense of mission is lost.
  • Disoriented employees. When employees get mixed signals from leaders preaching one set of values but rewarding a different set of behaviours, it can leave them feeling confused, jaded, and out of touch with the organisation’s goals. For example, a company may focus on individual performance reviews despite verbally praising the merits of teamwork.
  • Damaged public image. When culture and strategy are aligned, day-to-day operations tend to fall into sync with a company’s brand and image. Failure to maintain alignment can make the organisation appear hypocritical to those observing it—especially to customers.
  • Increased turnover. A strong culture that is well-aligned with strategy creates a sense of belonging to something greater than any individual. It inspires loyalty in all levels, from company leadership to entry-level hires. When that alignment fails, the sense of loyalty can be nearly impossible to maintain—and employees will tend to seek it elsewhere.


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In the 1970's, many large firms adopted a formalised top-down strategic planning model. Under this model, strategic planning became a deliberate process in which top executives periodically would formulate the firm's strategy, then communicate it down the organisation for implementation.

This process is most applicable to strategic management at the business unit level of the organisation.

For large corporations, strategy at the corporate level is more concerned with managing a portfolio of businesses. 

For example, corporate level strategy involves decisions about which business units to grow, resource allocation among the business units, taking advantage of synergies among the business units, and mergers and acquisitions. In the process outlined here, "company" or "firm" will be used to denote a single business firm or a single business unit of a diversified firm.

This resource takes you step by step through the model.

Click on the following link to find out more: Strategic Planning Process Model


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Although there are countless organisational models, this paper describes one particular approach–the congruence model of organisational behaviour.

First developed by David A Nadler and M L Tushman in the early 1980s, it has been found to be particularly useful in helping leaders to understand and analyse their organisations’ performance.

This approach has been developed and refined over nearly three decades of academic research and practical application in scores of major companies.

It doesn’t provide any pat answers or pre-packaged solutions to the perplexing issues of large-scale change. Instead, it is a useful tool that helps leaders understand the interplay of forces that shape the performance of each organisation, and starts them down the path of working with their own people to design and implement solutions to their organisation’s unique problems.

This paper, shared by Stanford University, describes the congruence model and suggests how it can provide a starting point for large-scale change.

Congruence Model - A Roadmap to Understanding Organisational Performance

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The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) produce a range of 'Topic Gateways' which are intended as a refresher or introduction to topics of interest to their member

s and others involved in the practical application of finance within organisations.

This Topic Gateway explores a range of analysis tools include SWOT and PEST analysis, Porter’s Five Forces and Value Chain Analysis etc.

To download this Topic Gateway Click Here

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Porter's Five Forces model, named after Michael E. Porter, identifies and analyses five competitive forces that shape every industry, and helps determine an industry's weaknesses and strengths.




These forces are:


1. Competition in the industry;

2. Potential of new entrants into the industry;

3. Power of suppliers;

4. Power of customers;

5. Threat of substitute products.

Frequently used to identify an industry's structure to determine corporate strategy, Porter's model can be applied to any segment of the economy to search for profitability and attractiveness.

To read more click on the following link: Five Forces Model


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The critical first step in designing and leading successful large-scale change is to fully understand the dynamics and performance of the enterprise.

It’s simply impossible to prescribe the appropriate remedy without first diagnosing the nature and intensity of an organisation’s problems.

Is your organisation's performance as good as it could be? What could be changed to improve things and why would this help? Does the key lie in the work itself? Or with the people doing it? Should you reorganise the corporate structure? Or try to change the prevailing culture?  And why does one organisation seem to thrive on a certain corporate structure or type of work, while another struggles?

The answer lies in understanding the key causes or drivers of performance and the relationship between them.

The Congruence Model, first developed by David A Nadler and M L Tushman in the early 1980s, provides a way of doing just this.  It's a powerful tool for finding out what's going wrong with a team or organisation, and for thinking about how you can fix it.

To find out more about the model and how it can be applied Click Here

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Team members have many options and choices open to them on how they work together. One very fundamental choice involves their interpretation of your organisation's purpose.

By jointly reviewing and clarifying their reason for existence, team members establish a common base from which to further examine where they are and what the future might hold.

This team-based activity can be used to help you and your team review and clarify your organisation's purpose and to identify possible future changes.

Facilitator guidance notes and handouts are included in this activity.

To download this resource, click on the following link: Reviewing Our Organisational Purpose Activity

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