One technique that I have found to be very useful that I have "imported" from my brand management training at P&G is OGSM. OGSM stands for Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures. OGSM is a pretty terrific way of aligning an organization. Here's how it works:
Your Objective and Goals are the very paramount items that you are trying to attain. Objectives and Goals should be very selective, few in number and, in my opinion, memorable and motivating. A business objective could be "Attain market leadership in all markets within x space by x". The goal is the numeric measurement that will determine whether you have succeeded in attaining your objective. For example, "x% dollar share by x" or, even better, it can be a chart of dollar share by quarter for the next year.
Strategies and Measures are the (ideally 4-5) strategies that you will undertake to achieve your objective. These may include "Drive awareness of product x among x target market through targeted direct mail" and the measure would be "Brand awareness of x% by x date".
The utility of this process is as follows:
1. OGSMs can cascade down through the organization. A company can articulate its entire vision as an OGSM (for example, x% top-line growth and x% profit through the strategies of: expansion into x developing markets, launch of x new brands and implementation of lean manufacturing). Once this OGSM is outlined, folks within the business can create their own OGSMs to match the strategies articulated by management. At the individual level, this cascades down to work levels.
2. The OGSM should be 1-2 pages MAXIMUM. This ensures that you are being subjective and that you are able to effectively communicate your objectives and goals throughout the organization.
3. Reviewing the OGSM for strategic consistency is facilitated by the format and shortness of this methodology.
How do you review an OGSM? This is where I apply the 5S test.
The Synchronization test is the first and easiest test to apply. Review your Objectives and Goals here to see if they are aligned to your management's specific Strategies and Measures (not necessarily all of them, but at least one of them). If they are not, you do not likely have strategic alignment.
The Sufficiency test is applied by rigorously assessing whether the strategies and measures outlines within the OGSM, if attained, are sufficient to achieve your objectives.
The Selective test is applied by reviewing the strategies to see if it clearly lays out what you are NOT going to do as much as it lays out what you are going to do. It should be clear within your selected strategies that you have adequate manpower to achieve them and it should establish to the rest of the organization parameters around dealing with requests that come to your team. (I will not do x because it is not aligned with strategy y.)
The Sustainable test I apply asks "Does this set of strategies offer my company/business/product a barrier to entry versus competition?" (Competition), "Does it meet a real consumer need?" (Consumer), "Does it address customer profitability needs?" (Customer) and "Does it meet my company's financial needs?" (Company).
I am starting to implement OGSM in my current position. I have to say that I regret waiting as long as I have. If done at the start of any job, it is clear what the benefits are. OGSM is a phenomenal business tool.