Strategic Alignment Group LLC  
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Our Methodology

This page shows you how our services fit together into a truly systemic, "whole organization" approach to improvement. Our approach achieves predictable results by aligning your organization's processes and people with its strategies and goals.

Warning - This page is a bit long and somewhat theoretical. We encourage you to read it through in its entirety, but it's sectioned off in case you're interested in just one topic.

All of our services fit into at least one of four categories. Click a category below (or just scroll down) to learn about the methods we employ in each:

  1. Strategic and Tactical Planning (Executive)
  2. Goals and Results (Senior Leadership)
  3. Processes and Activities (Operational)
  4. People Development (Human Resources)

Strategic and Tactical Planning
You always arrive at the end of the road you travel. Leaders intuitively realize the critical importance of planning their course and creating a strategy to achieve their goals.

Yet few leaders do this well. Too many organizations - under the guise of strategy - only plan to be like themselves (at worst) or like their competitors (at best).

Leaders often fall into two camps -- Mental Planners and Overplanners.

     1. Mental Planners know what they want to accomplish, but they don't formalize their plans or the strategies that will get them there. This type of leader "figures it out" as they go along and is often over-focused on the tactical and under-focused on the strategic. But the conscious mind can only hold so much at once. You can run to the local store for milk and eggs without directions or a list. But you couldn't drive to an unfamiliar city to shop at an unfamiliar store to buy a month's worth of groceries without directions and a list.

     2. Overplanners carefully think out their goals and what it takes to achieve them. They formalize strategies to achieve those goals to the most minute detail. The planning documents they produce -- or that an over-priced consultant produces for them -- tend to be thick manuals that only collect dust on a shelf. These planners, too, are overly tactical. The problems with overplanning are many. Most notably, a highly structured and detailed plan is impossible to communicate well to the very people who are responsible for achieving it.

- Mental Plans limit your organization because the human mind is limited.
- Overdeveloped Plans make your organization slow to respond to unexpected variables.

Profitable Innovation™ - our approach to strategic execution planning - circumvents these problems. It generates results that are predictable, positive, forward-moving, and profitable while maintaining a balance between flexibility and structure. Profitable Innovation emanates from a strategy which has been designed for execution from the beginning. It breaks out of the familiar, is adequately researched and budgeted, and is planned at just the right level.

Depending on where you currently are, we can conduct an in-depth diagnosis of your strengths and opportunities, assist in identifying core values, guide you as you develop a vision that is achievable and measurable, help define critical success factors, and partner in creating a formalized strategy to achieve your results.

What sets us apart is what will set you apart -- our method and our deliverables. We coach you through the Profitable Innovation™ process. Sure, we participate. But the final product is your own work, not ours. After all, you know your organization far better than we do!

The process wraps up by ensuring that your plan is clear, measurable, and ready to communicate to every level of your organization.

Strategies, of course, determine goals and results.

Goals And Results
Your arrow will hit the target toward which it is aimed. Results happen without clear goals, but they are always unpredictable. And who can know if they are the most desirable results?

You know goals are important, but setting goals with a freedom and clarity that propels your forward is an art form, and it is challenging for many.

Why? Because people only see what they recognize. We unknowingly lock ourselves into the familiar. We subconsciously only ask questions we believe we know how to answer.

You can't grow that way. Growth requires change.

Strategic Alignment Group helps you break out of the familiar. We will help you develop goals that lead to measurable results so you can achieve things you hadn't thought of before. We also assist you in defining those results in clear, measurable terms so you know when you've hit the right target.

Everything Strategic Alignment Group does -- and helps you do -- emanates from a strict results-orientation. We call this End-Forward Alignment™. We begin by identifying desired results (the "End"), then work step-by-step toward the beginning -- the Measurement, Planning and Strategy that will achieve those results. We don't just "begin with the end in mind," we actually begin at the end and work toward the beginning. This approach generates greater insight, greater innovation, and more thorough development.

Goals, of course, are mobilized through processes and people.

Processes And Activities
If you don’t understand what you are doing as a process, you don’t understand what you are doing. Processes -- whether automated or human, in the office or in the factory -- are vehicles that carry your strategies toward results.

Our strategic alignment methods address both people and processes. We'll focus on Processes here and on People in the next section.

Process and Quality Improvement as we approach it -- which incorporates principles of LEAN, Six Sigma, Total quality Management, and Continuous Improvement -- is a really management philosophy. It is centered on strategy, driven by management, focused on customers, and supported by employees.

And it is inseparably tied to your strategic plan.

If you need to be more competitive, more profitable, more productive, more flexible in meeting customer needs, and/or to improve the speed of concept-to-profit, your business processes are the first place to look.

Diagnostics, planning and goal setting will invariably uncover misalignment between processes, people, goals and strategies. This isn't all bad! In fact, it is an important disparity -- otherwise, you'd just do what you've always done.

Poor processes result in poor quality and decreased profitability:

  • Quality of both marketable products and internal deliverables suffer because of variations/defects in output.
  • Profitability suffers when operating processes include too much wasted time or materials.

Strategic Alignment Group provides a structured approach to resolving both of these. Depending on your specific need, we can help improve quality by reducing variations (Root Cause Analysis/Six Sigma) and ramp up your profitability by reducing cycle times (Continuous Improvement/Lean).

We help you redesign process performance by focusing on speed -- eliminating non-value-added steps and performing concurrent tasks.

In all cases, we work through a committed senior management. We first train your people on how to improve processes. Management directs the team toward critical core processes that will produce desired and necessary results. Your teams diagnose the problem, recommend solutions and implement the approved solutions.

Optionally, we serve as a steering committee for the projects.

Our approach not only increases quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction. It also improves employee morale and loyalty, gets results much quicker, and creates sustainable improvement more than any competitor's approach.

The result of our approach -- and what we believe sets us apart -- is that improvements become part of the very fabric of your organization, resulting in sustained change.

People Development
Corporate America spends billions of dollars each year to train employees with new knowledge and skills.

You know from experience that those new skills are generally applied for a short time, then things go back to "normal."

Why? Because the individual is much bigger than his or her brain, and the organization is much bigger than the individual.

Without a changed organization, individual training is can't be applied. Organizational culture, ineffective systems, inefficient processes, and unhealthy attitudes affect individual behavior much more than any training they receive.

Strategic Alignment Group takes a different approach. We don't stop at training people, we develop people. While we teach, we provide opportunities to apply the learning to the actual job! We also develop new attitudes, habits, goals, strategies, and activities that enable the new learning to create cultural change.

Our People Development processes include leadership development from Executives to Team Leaders/Supervisors as well as Managers, Salesforce, Customer Service, Time Management, and Entrepreneurial Development.

As a way of giving back, we also provide a Youth Leadership Development process for ages 13-21, preparing young people for our future.

To learn more, call Strategic Alignment Group at 330.465.0927 or email us here.