The Benefits of Operational Alignment

The benefits of alignment are clearly evident. Cars run better, use less gas and get more mileage on a set of tires when the wheels are properly aligned. A marksman is able to hit the target more consistently and accurately when the sights are aligned. And so it goes.
From a business standpoint, operational alignment is not only beneficial – it is crucial to a company’s success. ‘Operational Alignment’ occurs when people, systems, processes and technology are properly positioned to support your strategies which in turn support your overall mission and goals.

Let’s say that one of your key strategies is outstanding customer service. If you have Operational Alignment with regard to this strategy, here are some indicators:

  • Employees are screened, hired, properly trained and well managed with relevant accountability standards in a manner consistent with the customer service objective.
  • Employees have ready access to useful tools and information along with adequate authority and flexibility to make decisions that support outstanding customer service.
  • Internal systems, procedures and technology are designed to support quality customer service throughout the lifecycle of the customer relationship (i.e. single customer database, documented processes and workflows, project status reporting, issue tracking and proactive follow-up).
  • Management information and reporting is timely, accurate and tracks useful customer service metrics and trends which are acted upon to make improvements.
  • Every touch point with the customer reinforces quality customer service (i.e., clear proposals, proactive project updates, delivery status notification, clear billing statements, timely customer service response, proactive account management).
  • In general, communication, management behavior and the overall environment within the company supports the strategy which results in employee buy-in. Outstanding Customer service is a ‘value’ (What you do) not just an ‘ideal’ (What you ‘should’ do).

How do you know that you are in a state of Operational Alignment? Your customers tell you (because you consistently ask them for feedback). They enthusiastically refer you to others. They remain loyal and they forgive you when you stumble occasionally (provided you handle the stumble well).
How do you know if things are (getting) out of alignment? Hopefully you find out first from your people, systems and processes. Other symptoms are discussed in my posts on Operational Friction and Disconnect. One clear indicator is if you, as Owner/CEO, are spending a significant amount time directly involved in detail issues or talking to unhappy customers or employees. Another sign of (potential) problems is hearing nothing good or bad… (See my post “No News Is Bad News”).
Applying a fresh set of experienced eyes to your business will identify opportunities and methods for improving Operational Alignment (yes, more shameless self-promotion). The benefits are increased profitability, additional equity value, more peace of mind and greater satisfaction as you move more quickly toward your goals.


  1. Hi Fred. Thanks for alerting me to your blog and to your articles. I could talk customer service and alignment all day. You are right on target.
    If your business is not customer centric, you should not be in business. For me, alignment is my mantra. The only business book I recommend to associates is the “Power of Alignment,” by George Labovitz. If a company can get that right, they just may be successful and survive the “seasons.”

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