Originally posted at http://www.howtomeasureanything.com, on Monday, December 08, 2008 9:32:43 PM, by Amichai.

“The challenge is to come up with a simple, clearly defined number (or a few numbers) that reflect how well the organization is executing towards the goals from the CEO level to the line worker level. It would also be good to have an insight into what misalignment occurs between departments.

Most importantly, we should be able to track our alignment score overtime and track the impact of our improvements and corrective actions.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!”

Thanks for your question. I mention strategic alignment just briefly in the book. As with all measurement questions, we start with What do you mean? . In this case, you offered perhaps part of the meaning – how well the organization is executing towards the goals from the CEO level to the line worker level. I would think that the rate it is approaching certain defined goals is itself measurable, especially if the goal is measurable. But perhaps some concrete examples could help us zero in more. Does alignment mean that the activities of each of these levels are contributing to the probability of reaching a goal at a stated time? Does it mean these activities are contributing toward reaching the goal faster? Perhaps the observable object is just the rate of completion of the goal itself. Isn’t alignment just another way to say performance given the way you are using it? If not, what is different?

If you are not just concerned about a % complete measure toward a particular goal then it seems to me that, in effect, you are trying to correlate certain observable input to the probability or rate of completion of stated goals – which, again, sounds a bit like performance. So what you are really trying to measure is whether each of some list of observable activities is improving the rate or probability of completion of a specific goal. Another issue you will have to consider is the tradeoff among multiple possibly competing goals. If you have more than one goal, you will have to collapse these goals into a single value using the utility curve approach I describe in the book or possibly simply monetizing the various goals. This way you can tell if your overall alignment has improved if you have increased satisfaction of one goal but slightly decreased another. Ultimately, it seems like you have a type of forecasting problem. You are asking Based on what I have seen so far (of some list of observations) are we getting closer to or further away from meeting Goal X? The score you are looking for should correlate with rate or probability of goal completion.

In addition to the questions I asked above, here are some more I have for you:

* Is you definition of alignment close to what I just talked about?

* What are some of the goals you are talking about?

* What will be the use of this measure, specifically?

* How much do you know now? What have you seen so far that causes you to think that some departments/individuals are more aligned than others?

If you can answer these questions then I think I can give you some very specific ideas.


Doug Hubbard