Aligning your teams to meet changing business priorities

 Highlights from webinar #2 in our Moving Forward Series 

In the first webinar of our three-part series, we focused on the future of the employee experience, advising organizations to put their employees first as future work environments begin to take shape. For the second webinar, David Woltze, Managing Director of our Silicon Valley office, and Allison Torpey, Director at Propeller, addressed “Aligning Your Teams to Meet Changing Business Priorities.” 

The basics of organizational alignment, including establishing a strategy, creating direction, enabling your employees, and finally, measuring the success of your efforts, are covered in detail in our 40-minute webinar, but if you’re short on time, you can find some key takeaways below. 

Propeller - Organizational Structure Example
Propeller - Organizational Structure Example

1. Establishing a strategy 

Establishing a strategy should be carefully considered against the backdrop of the current environment and where you want your organization to go. A new strategy in this “new normal” may entail a pivot in engagement channels between you and your customers (via curbside pickup, online streamable workouts, telemedicine, and other avenues) and/or a pivot in the product itself (i.e. distilleries creating hand sanitizer, retail and grocery demands shifting). 

2. Providing Direction

If you’ve landed on a new strategy and feel confident it’s the right move for your team or organization, how can you drive your employees in this new direction? The first requirement, and this one really is required for success, is strong leadership. As a leader, be realistic, have a plan, understand what you can (and can’t) control, and then be transparent in your communication through all levels of your organization. One of the key resources to leverage during this directional phase is a communications plan. It can be found in the appendix of the presentation download. Identify the partners and personas affected by the changes, understand the content needed to help them navigate and absorb the changes, and figure out how to best communicate those changes and when. If you customize your approach for each group, rather than providing top-down directives to the broader organization, employees will feel valued and heard. 

To reinforce the change, it’s best to establish a strong governance policy and norms to guide your employees. These include documents outlining the direction of the new strategy and why, transparency around the prioritization of backlog items, and clear roles and responsibilities so that each individual understands the importance of their contribution. However, it’s important while establishing governance of the new direction to also allow time for *future* new directions! Don’t be so short-sighted in the current day-to-day that you miss out on future opportunities. 

3. Enabling your employees 

Okay, you’re halfway there! Take a pause to consider what we’ve already accomplished: A brand new strategic direction for your organization or team, including a clear plan for each employee, and robust communications around the change and why it’s needed. No small feat. 

The next step will go a long way toward determining the success of your work so far. It’s time to empower your employees and set them up for success. After all, you can’t build a winning team if you don’t provide your employees with the necessary support. Empower your team by giving them the tools, information, training, and opportunities they need to succeed and grow in the new direction. Do they have access to the right data? Training materials for new technologies? An understanding of how they rely on other teams around common initiatives that involve interdependencies? Consider all these questions, and plan for scalability. 

4. Measuring success 

Lastly, it’s time to measure the success of your new strategy and direction. There are three levels of performance indicators you can evaluate at this stage, depending on the size and scale of your organizational alignment. The broadest is organizational: Items like revenue, growth, and customer satisfaction. Next is program: Budget, time, change saturation, etc. And finally, by individual projects: based on metrics including user adoption, sentiment, and utilization. What you’re trying to determine at this point is whether your new direction was effective, and, if not, how you can course correct to keep the momentum going until you achieve your desired results. 


Working through the above is challenging and will take commitment, but the webinar goes into more detail on all of the key steps -- it will help you and your organization make the changes needed to thrive. 

Finally, a word of encouragement: Don’t let uncertainty or a lack of experience stand in your way. Conduct due diligence, research the appropriate steps, and know that our team is ready to support you along the way. 

What's next? 

With an eye on the changing work environment, Propeller hosted three webinars between July 21 and August 19 focused on leading people and organizations through the new normal. The first webinar, Designing Future Work Environment with an Employee-First Lens, discussed how organizations can evolve to meet the needs of the current moment, including tips and materials to help you analyze your business, assess employee readiness, and pivot towards the future. The full conversation and collateral materials from all three webinars can be found here, and keep an eye out for the summary of webinar #3, coming soon.