What is it?

Alignment, shared purpose and agility are all drivers of sustainable organisational performance. CIPD research has highlighted the importance of these themes for long-term performance.

  1. Alignment
    The consistency, integration or link between the organisation’s purpose and the values, behaviours or objectives of internal and external stakeholders.
  2. Shared purpose
    An organisation’s purpose is what it aims for or strives towards. Shared purpose occurs when this important feature of organisational identity is shared by employees at all levels and, where possible, by external stakeholders.

    Although it’s important for an organisation to have clarity of purpose, this will not deliver sustained performance unless members of the organisation “sign up” to it so that the purpose is shared by all.
  3. Agility
    Agility is the ability to stay open to new directions and be continually proactive. This helps assess the limits or risks of existing approaches, and ensure that leaders and followers have an agile and change-ready mindset to keep moving, changing and adapting.

    Nothing happens without people. Management accountants, with their knowledge of this tool and their organisation’s value drivers, plans and strategies, should work with HR professionals to engage employees in organisational objectives.

What benefits does the tool provide?

  • Reviewing the extent management behaviours are encouraging alignment, agility and shared purpose.
  • Identifying key organisation performance issues and where these areas need attention.
  • Establishing a process for developing organisational agility.
  • Ensuring clarity about alignment issues that affect organisational performance.
  • Developing sustainable management practices suitable for both challenging economic circumstances and organisational growth situations.
  • Establishing clarity on how people connect with the organisation’s purpose.
  • Developing an appropriately agile mindset amongst employees.
  • Enabling people to understand organisational priorities and external pressures – and to direct and manage their focus upon these.

Implementing the tool? Questions to consider:

  • Does the situation (e.g. a change or new strategy) call for a review of the organisation’s design?
  • Can you identify any areas of the organisation that are dysfunctional in terms of current strategy?
  • Have you identified an HR professional who you could work with to deploy this tool and improve organisational design?
  • Does the HR function share your understanding of the organisation’s current strategy and business model?
  • Does the HR function share your assessment of suboptimal organisational design? For example, job roles that are not aligned with the organisational purpose.
Actions to take / Dos Actions to avoid / Don'ts
  • Make sure that people have a clear understanding of the challenges faced by the organisation to improve buy-in.
  • Reflect your appreciation of the previous changes that have impacted employees.
  • Identify and capitalise on areas of strength.
  • Focus on senior leaders’ key priorities.
  • Avoid change for change’s sake.
  Further resources

Source of tool: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)