Alignment and coherence. Two words that convey a state within organizations where the strategy is fully supported by resources, structure, beliefs and intentions. It’s implementation. It’s the details of absolute follow-through.
Is your company aligned on its strategy? Does it have strategic coherence? Possibly not. The strategy might not be clear to everyone. If it’s clear to some, it might not seem achievable to others. Even if it is achievable, it may need resource allocation that hasn’t been explored fully.
According to an upcoming book, The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy, by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi (Harvard Business Press, 2010), alignment (coherence) is achieved by focus on three interrelated aspects of strategy: market position, core capabilities and products and services that follow from both.
Market position is identifying the place where you can offer a product or service that’s clearly differentiated from others in a way that’s meaningful to customers. Core capabilities are the “know how” that you possess that sets you apart; they are the source of your differentiation. Products and services that align with the chosen market position and differentiation will, as a result, benefit from a clear brand identity.
The consulting firm Booz Allen has created an easy (and free) self-diagnostic that allows organizations to assess their strategic coherence or alignment. It’s called the Coherence Profiler. It takes about 5 minutes to complete and asks important questions about how strategically aligned or coherent your company is.
You can take the test here.
We’d love to hear from you after you do; let us know your experience with this profiler and how you might like to respond to its results.