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Testing Your Organization’s Effectiveness

The Clifton Review 


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

While the 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story, his incredible business success over these past fifty years and an inside look at how he did it, The Clifton Review will also continue to address current affairs as they relate to the good of The Bahamas.


Testing Your Organization’s Effectiveness

By P.J. Malone

Do all of these business strategies really matter to an organization? The success of businesses using these various business strategies attest to the fact that they do.

In studying fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s stunning business success, we have sought to present the various business strategies that contributed to that success as well as sought to provide tools to help small businesses emulate his success.

Some strategies have been detailed more than others simply because of their role in helping Nygard achieve his business success. Organizational alignment is one of them.

Its importance is revealed in this statement by authors of a Harvard Business Review article: “There is no universal or one-size-fits-all prescription for a winning business. But corporate leaders today seem to agree that strategic alignment is high on the list.” (Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe: “A Simple Way to Test Your Company’s Strategic Alignment”

The authors expound:

Strategic alignment, for us, means that all elements of a business — including the market strategy and the way the company itself is organized — are arranged in such a way as to best support the fulfillment of its long-term purpose. While a company’s purpose generally doesn’t change, strategies and organizational structures do, which can make chasing “alignment” between strategy and the organization feel like chasing an elusive will-o’-the-wisp. (Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe)

Authors Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe offer these two questions to test your organization’s strategy and effectiveness.

  1. How well does your business strategy support the fulfillment of your company’s purpose? Purpose is what the business is trying to achieve. Strategy is how the business will achieve it. Purpose is enduring – it is the north star towards which the company should point. Strategy involves choices about what products and services to offer, which markets to serve, and how the company should best set itself apart from rivals for competitive advantage. 

Think of your own business and ask yourself, using a scale of 1 – 100, How well does our strategy support the fulfillment of our purpose? (If you are unclear on your company’s strategic priorities, or its purpose, then the likelihood is that it does not.)

  1. How well does your organization support the achievement of your business strategy? “Organization,” as we’re using it here, includes all of the required capabilities, resources (including human), and management systems necessary to implement your strategy. For instance, if your company seeks to beat competitors through superior customer service, is this reflected in the day-to-day behavior of staff and their interactions with customers? 

If innovation is a key strategic priority, does your organizational structure enable creative collaboration, risk-taking, and knowledge sharing? To maintain strategic alignment, a company’s people, culture, structure and processes have to flex and change as the strategy itself shifts. The symptoms of poor alignment are often obvious, especially to those who work in the company, but also to customers who do not experience the service they expect from a company’s branding and advertising. 

Using the same 1 – 100 scale ask yourself: How well does our organization support the achievement of our strategy? If your organization is incapable of delivering its strategy, the strategy is effectively worthless and your company’s purpose will go more or less unfulfilled.  

(Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe)

Peter Nygard’s insistence on perfection within his organization causes him to always focus on organizational alignment, which contributes to his high levels of success. Working toward organizational alignment is worth the effort.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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