The team at FranklinCovey has researched over 500,000 individuals and 5,000 teams—and found that only 19 percent of individuals in any organization or team knows what the organization’s top priorities are.
In yesterday’s business paradigm, where strategy is confined to the C-suite, that might not be a surprising or worrisome finding. But today, if more than 80 percent of your employees don’t understand what the organization is trying to achieve, that’s a big problem.
We no longer live in a world where executives can set strategic objectives and then leave the frontline in the dark, performing rote tasks. That industrial approach fails badly in today’s knowledge economy, where you need employees to think strategically, align their efforts with company priorities, and communicate to leadership about issues they see.
As providers of a strategy-execution solution, we at Khorus think day in and day out about the challenges and rewards of involving employees in company success: getting everyone rowing in the same direction, to use the common metaphor. The process does take effort, but let’s look at the five biggest rewards that make that effort more than worthwhile.
Alignment happens when every person understands the role they play in the company’s success—and not just in a vague way. True alignment means there’s a specific game plan for the quarter, with each employee having measurable targets and knowing why those targets are strategically important. The aligned organization works in concert to arrive at the desired destination together. It frees itself of silos, secrecy, and lack of purpose.
One of the key drivers of employee engagement is a clear understanding of each person’s role in the organization and how they can contribute to success. Transparency about corporate objectives and milestones helps employees feel involved and personally invested, making them more willing to apply discretionary effort to make sure the heavy lifting gets done.
Including everyone in the strategic objectives means you’re all speaking the same language, and can talk about how to solve issues early, rather than confronting an unpleasant surprise right before a board meeting. In short, performance becomes more predictable.
Employees on the ground often know well in advance of upper management when obstacles threaten to delay or derail goal achievement. If an employee two levels down tells you they’re not going to meet their goal, you can look upstream and see which of the company’s objectives may be in trouble as a result. Having that kind of intel early and often is the CEO’s holy grail.
When employees have specific goals that tie up to corporate objectives, they know they’re going to be held accountable to those commitments. It’s a sharp contrast to the “set and forget” approach that happens too often when an employee’s goals don’t really matter. Plus, most of your employees, especially your high performers, actually desire more accountability.
When your entire team is focused on the strategic objectives that spell victory, your chances of obtaining the prize are increased. Engaging your employees in strategic objectives requires some structure and dedication, but the outstanding results speak for themselves.