Alignment’s Secret Ingredient – Congruency

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The challenge

How to align your vast organization?

If you’re sitting on your leadership perch, how do you know that the transactional activity happening on the front lines is in alignment with your strategy?

No matter how often you say we are all about one thing or two or three things it’s really hard for people to understand. Mainly because it’s unrealistic.

‘How can I pay attention to that strategy stuff when I have a customer complaining right in front of me?’

Tie to Strategy Map

A crucial part of any organizational change is to identify the ties to strategy. This explains why we’re doing something. It’s not always easy. Identifying the link to strategy is a great test of the proposed change and also serves to explain the change to those affected.

It’s obvious to tie changes to strategy. Not so obvious is the process of tying everyday activities to strategy.

Example: Strategy Goal = Grow the Healthcare market sector by 23% this year.

What does this mean to the customer service group? How does answering a customer support call on the help desk link to this strategy goal?

It makes sense for the leader of customer service to explore this. It’s important though that we don’t assume this is happening and translating down to the front line. There should be a conversation within the leadership team about how these linkages are working. There is an opportunity for clarity we don’t want to miss.


With many infrastructure activities (i.e., keep the lights on tasks) it’s sometimes difficult to see the connection to strategy. The people associated with these boring base tasks can easily feel disconnected from the strategy and the company overall. My friend Nido Qubein introduced me to the congruency map.

The congruency map allows you to see all the connections to strategy as well as the interconnections between activities.

The congruency map is a simple yet powerful tool:

  • In the middle of a piece of paper, write each strategic objective in a box.
  • Around the periphery write down the activities of a department.
  • Draw a line from each activity to the associated strategic objective(s).

Now, step back and look at your work. The messiest looking page is the best one. If you see some blank space you know that there are some activities that are not in alignment with the strategy. This is where you can find some value.

If you can find all the activities that contribute to a strategic goal you can optimize these activities and predict results.

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On May 5, 2015
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