It all starts with the customer’s demand for work, but what Strategic Work Alignment changes is how businesses respond to that demand. It helps release human potential in both individuals and working teams. Instead of thinking work is rigidly fixed we now know work is malleable. Work can be broken down into its component parts, and then reassembled in ways that better fit how individuals perform that work. It is an alignment of what work demands coupled with the work style preferences of the performer.
One way to think about reassembling work is to realize that work is malleable and can be divided into building blocks of effort (and associated thought). These building blocks are:
- Task efforts - a focus on product or service
- Project efforts - a focus on projects and people
- Organizational efforts - a focus on goals and results
These building blocks can be organized and assigned in new ways that improve work performance. It is still the same sum of work, but organized and distributed in ways that also meet the preferences of the individual performer. As one considers rearranging work content, it is important to realize that there is a natural energy and enthusiasm people can bring to bear if their work has been designed to release their personal potential.
Consider which statement would be easier to accomplish (given that both satisfy customer demand):
- Change your employees to meet work demands
- Change the work content to fit your employees’ skills and preferences
The first statement treats employees as a tool to be applied, without recognition of who they are as people. This naturally leads to organizational resistance. It also explains the dynamic of why companies hire for skill and fire for fit – which is wasteful to both the company and the individual.
The second statement reduces performance resistance by designing work that delivers value by respecting the humanity of performers. Strategic Work Alignment is designing work to meet the needs of the customer, organization, and individuals.
Copyright © 2014 by The McFletcher Corporation and Working Change LLC in association with Strategy1
As you read through this article, what scenario or challenge facing your company did you have in mind? I would love to discuss this with you at your convenience.