In a Bnet interview, David C. Baker, the head of ReCourses, a marketing consulting company, explained why he believes the emphasis on brand and storytelling in marketing is overplayed. His argument plays well in HR and people management, too.
When asked what does work, if not brand and storytelling, Mr. Baker had this to say:
“Alignment. Alignment is a healthy and well-articulated culture that helps the company do what it sets out to do. Branding can play a role in getting a grasp on what the company should look like to an outsider; storytelling should infuse those truths into the culture; but alignment ensures that everyone is pulling in the right direction. That’s possible because everyone knows the direction, you’ve hired people who want to row in that direction, and managers understand that they are in the people business.
“Here’s the bottom line. Alignment is simply telling the truth: To your customers, to your employees, and to yourself. When you do that everything else falls into place. Then your brand makes sense and the stories you tell support your brand — because your brand is you.”
That sentence in bold in the statement above is an interesting definition of company culture. Look around at your most immediate team members (whether that is 2 people or 10). Are you confident all of you are working towards the same goal? How do you know?
I agree with Mr. Baker about the importance of alignment. It’s a topic I’ve written about frequently. The challenge lies in ensuring alignment in today’s rapidly changing business world. As my CEO, Eric Mosley, pointed out in a webinar he led with Josh Bersin, business moves so fast, priorities change, the world changes. Strategic recognition programs that encourage frequent recognition activity through the year gives people the communication and reinforcement they need to know their daily efforts are in alignment with goals and objectives as they change.
Measuring recognition activity in real-time is just as important so you know when and where employees may be slipping out of alignment. This is only possible if you tie each recognition and reward to a specific desired value or organization goal, allowing you to see at a glance how each employee, team, division and the organization as a whole is performing.
Is alignment a goal for your organization? How do you know if you’re succeeding?