Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High-Performers Quit

Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High-Performers Quit
Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High-Performers Quit
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 21st, 2024

In every high-performer’s career journey, there comes a pivotal moment that defines their future trajectory. For some, this moment is a realization—a stark awakening to the misalignment between their personal goals and the strategic direction of their organization. This was the case in my own career, prompting me to embrace entrepreneurship after witnessing chronic alignment issues across various companies. So, today we will discuss Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High Performers Quit.

Lack of Alignment

Alignment, or rather the lack thereof, is akin to a vehicle that has hit a huge pothole and its alignment is off.  After that, the car tends to veer off course.  Over time this misalignment does more and more damage to your car.  It’s not obvious at first by the wear of the tires. If not repaired, it gets worse and can even cause the tire to blow.  If you have ever had a tire blowout, you know it makes the journey arduous and much harder to get to the destination.  Misalignment is a fundamental issue many organizations grapple with, often unknowingly, leading to the attrition of their most valuable assets: high-performing employees.

LEARN MORE: Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision

Thursday, March 28th, 2024, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern

Register HERE 

Why I Became an Entrepreneur

Every job I ever quit was due to misalignment. One of the main reasons I started my own company 20 years ago was I could not find a company I felt would let me continue to grow.  My personal story serves as a testament to this challenge.

Back in the 1990s, I took a job with a growing ERP software company.  I was excited about learning their technology and I was determined to excel, I set an ambitious goal: to become the fastest certified consultant and pivot into a pre-sale role. I communicated this to my boss during the interview and she said “Okay”.  I then asked if I could be reviewed after 6 months and was told the company structures offered an annual review.  I insisted that I would require a 6-month review and she said, “Okay”.  Despite my dedication, exemplified by long nights and weekends immersed in mastering the software, the company's response to my zeal was lackluster.  After 6 months I demanded my review.  Her feedback was simply you’re doing a fabulous job, keep doing what you are doing.  I left the review deflated, angry, and questioning my decision to join the firm.  The feedback, albeit positive, felt hollow, devoid of any forward-looking vision or pathway for growth. The company left no room for flexibility, and failed to recognize or harness my aspirations.  Two days later I handed in my resignation. This misalignment was the catalyst for my departure. 

Do You Want Your High-Performers Competing with You?

This scenario repeated itself a couple more times for me I was not a fast learner.  I eventually handed in my final resignation letter and started my own company, Lodestar Solutions.  And yes, Lodestar Solutions competed directly with my prior firm.

High-Performers Need to See Their Role

This narrative is far from unique. Many high performers, much like athletes from their formative years, thrive on clear, tangible goals. They seek not just to understand the broader strategic objectives of their organization but to see how their contributions interweave with this larger tapestry. Without this clarity, the sense of purpose diminishes, and engagement wanes.

Bridging the Alignment Gap

The solution lies in bridging this alignment gap through transparent communication and a structured framework for setting and tracking goals. A potent tool in this endeavor is the methodology of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). OKRs empower organizations to distill their strategic goals into actionable, measurable objectives at every level of the hierarchy. This clarifies the direction for each team and individual and fosters a sense of ownership and accountability toward shared success.

Implementing OKRs

Implementing OKRs begins with articulating the long-term strategic goals of the organization. These are then broken down into specific, time-bound objectives for each team, ensuring alignment with the overarching vision. Key Results, the measurable outcomes associated with each objective, serve as milestones, guiding progress and facilitating course corrections as needed.

The true power of OKRs lies in their ability to bridge the gap between high-level strategy and day-to-day operations. By making strategic goals tangible and actionable, OKRs demystify the path to success for high performers, aligning their aspirations with the organization's trajectory.

Explore More

As we delve into the intricacies of OKRs and their impact on strategic alignment in our upcoming webinar, it's imperative for leaders to introspect. Are your organization's goals clearly communicated and aligned with the aspirations of your team members? Are you leveraging tools like OKRs to ensure everyone is not just rowing in the same direction but also understands why?

Strategic alignment is not just about setting goals but about weaving a shared narrative that resonates with every member of the team, galvanizing them towards a common purpose. As leaders, our challenge is to ensure that this narrative is not only compelling but also clear and inclusive, leaving no high performer behind.

Join us on this journey to transform strategic visions into lived realities, fostering an environment where every high performer finds their place, purpose, and path to success. To start this journey all you need to do is clear your calendar and register for my 1-hour webinar where I will share the secrets to:

LEARN MORE: Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision

Thursday, March 28th, 2024, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern

Register HERE 

Bridging the Gap: Elevating Finance from the “Office of No” to Strategic Visionaries

Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision
Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 13th, 2024

In last week’s blog we discussed, Beyond the ‘Office of No’: Orchestrating Harmony Between Immediate Gains and Lasting Strategy. Now we get into the meat of bridging the gap between the strategic vision and the short-term financial goals.  But let’s review…

The finance department often bears the brunt of being labeled the "Office of No," acting as the proverbial gatekeeper to the company's purse strings. Terms like "Controller" reinforce this image, evoking a sense of restriction rather than empowerment. But what if we could shift this narrative? What if, instead of being the bearers of budgetary bad news, finance became the linchpin in navigating the complex dance between short-term financial goals and long-term strategic plans? Imagine transforming the finance office into a strategic ally, adept at balancing the immediate financial needs with the long-term strategic vision of the company.

Enter the transformative world of strategic financial planning, where the once-stoic finance office,
"office of no," evolves into a dynamic partner, guiding companies through the intricacies of growth and innovation. This is not just a pipe dream but the core of our upcoming webinar, "Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision.  This event is designed to equip financial executives in mid-market companies with the insights and tools to become champions of strategic planning and execution.

The Evolution of Finance

The role of financial executives is evolving, with an increasing expectation to contribute strategically beyond traditional budgeting and cost management. CFOs must become strategic partners, driving innovation, and providing insights that shape the company's future.  This transformation requires a new set of tools and a mindset geared toward flexibility and foresight.

About the Webinar

This webinar, Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision, is tailored for financial executives seeking to navigate the complexities of aligning short-term financial imperatives with long-term strategic goals.  Register HERE

OKRs –

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a framework that helps align and motivate teams toward achieving strategic outcomes. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a popular goal-setting framework that helps organizations align and track their progress toward achieving high-level objectives. This methodology emphasizes setting clear, measurable goals ("Objectives") that are supported by specific, actionable outcomes ("Key Results") to gauge success. OKRs are designed to be transparent and encourage engagement across all levels of an organization, fostering a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

Companies Using OKRs

Several leading companies across various industries have successfully implemented OKRs to drive their growth and innovation. Notably:

  1. Google: Perhaps the most famous adopter, Google has been using OKRs since its early days to scale its operations and maintain a focus on its ambitious goals.
  2. LinkedIn: The professional networking giant adopted OKRs to maintain a clear focus on strategic priorities and drive employee engagement.
  3. Intel: The semiconductor company is one of the early adopters of OKRs, which has been central to its management philosophy and success.
  4. Spotify: The music streaming service uses OKRs to ensure its teams are aligned and working effectively towards the company's strategic goals.

Recommended Reading about OKRs’

For those looking to dive deeper into the world of OKRs, there are several authoritative books on the topic:

Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  1.  "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr: This book is often considered the definitive guide on OKRs. John Doerr, who introduced OKRs to Google, shares a variety of case studies from industry leaders and provides a comprehensive overview of how OKRs can drive success.

2. "Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results" by Christina Wodtke: This book offers a practical guide to implementing OKRs, blending theory with storytelling to illustrate the power of OKRs in achieving business objectives.

3. "Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs" by Paul R. Niven and Ben Lamorte: This book provides a step-by-step framework for implementing OKRs, including common pitfalls and best practices.

Blogs and Online Resources

Several well-known blogs and online platforms provide valuable insights into OKRs, including:

  1. Founded by John Doerr, this platform offers a wide range of resources, articles, and Q&As on OKRs, drawing on real-world examples and expert advice. 
  2. The OKR Podcast: Hosted by Deidre Paknad, CEO of WorkBoard, this podcast features interviews with industry leaders who share their experiences and lessons learned from implementing OKRs. 
align their teams and achieve ambitious goals

OKRs have proven to be a powerful tool for companies looking to align their teams and achieve ambitious goals. By setting clear objectives and measurable key results, organizations can ensure everyone is working towards the same strategic priorities, fostering a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

Tools to Model and Measure

Once you understand OKRs you need to explore tools to measure and model your organization to link the Strategic Goals to the short-term plan. A key feature of the webinar is a brief live demo of IBM Planning Analytics, showcasing how this tool can provide the agility and insight needed to adapt to rapidly changing business environments. This powerful tool enables advanced budgeting, forecasting, and monitoring, essential for strategic financial planning. (To see a video of IBM Planning Analytics go to our YouTube channel

The Need for Strategic Financial Planning

In today's fast-paced business world, the ability to balance short-term financial goals with long-term strategic objectives is crucial.   “Once you have settled on the strategy and the resulting top-level OKRs, we can use the OKRs to inform the budget. Only about 25% of the OKRs will have budget numbers associated with them, but the linkage between the majority of your OKRs and the budget is critical to strategy execution,” stated Brett Knowles in his blog  OKRs are the Center of Every Financial Planning Process. 

So, to successfully link your strategy and OKRs to your budget you will need the right tools. Our webinar will delve into how financial leaders can leverage IBM Planning Analytics to achieve this balance, transforming their role within the organization.

Join Us

This webinar is an opportunity for financial executives to step beyond the traditional boundaries of finance and embrace a more strategic role. By understanding and applying the principles of OKRs and utilizing advanced tools like IBM Planning Analytics, finance professionals can become pivotal in guiding their companies toward long-term success.

Don't miss this chance to redefine the role of finance in your organization. Register for "Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision" and start your journey toward becoming a strategic financial leader. Register HERE

Take the First Step

Are you ready to transform the perception of finance in your company? Join our webinar and be part of the evolution from the "Office of No" to strategic visionaries. Register now and unlock the potential of strategic financial planning in driving your company's future growth.

Register HERE.