How is your alignment?  This is not a question for your chiropractor, although we do encourage good posture. It is the alignment of your business, your job. Checking your alignment can help you accomplish more in less time. By doing this now, you can rid yourself of unnecessary time spent continually having to adjust due to poor alignment.

When the goals of the organization crystalize, and each team member knows what contribution they are expected to make to meet those goals, there is strategic alignment – this is when things work in harmony. However, when there is a misalignment, you can usually recognize it.

We will share three types of alignment to consider within your organization, along with three questions to ask yourself about your current alignment and three ways you can adjust a misalignment.



BRANDING ALIGNMENT


A brand has six levels that it represents:

  1. Attributes: A brand suggests certain attributes (this usually refers to the product attributes)
  2. Benefits: A brand’s attributes must be translated into functional and emotional benefits to the consumer
  3. Values: The brand says something about the values that it represents.
  4. Culture: The brand represents a certain culture
  5. Personality: The brand can project a certain personality
  6. User: The brand suggests the type of user who buys or uses the product.


When the physical appearance of your people, your office, your collateral material and digital presence all have the same look and feel considering the six levels above, there is branding alignment. Branding alignment helps your identity stand out in the marketplace. If your identity does not consistently align to your brand positioning and values or is not distinct from your competitors, you may want to rebrand your organization.

Name - Logo - Tag Line - Signage - Website - Brochures - Social Media - Financial Plans

When you do not have brand alignment, it creates confusion. It is harder to convert prospects because they must work hard to understand your organization. Clients are less likely to refer you because this lack of clarity makes it harder to articulate.

There is also the idea of co-branding which happens when you refer someone to an attorney, host an event at a particular venue or have a guest speaker on a private webcast. These things reflect on your organization, so you need to be sure they match your brand.

QUESTIONS

  1. Looking at your website and collateral materials, is the look and feel the same? Do they accurately represent your corporate attributes, benefits, values, culture, personality, and ideal clients?
  2. Do your financial plans reflect the marketing promises made?
  3. Do your office and your team reflect the look and feel that your brand implies?


This may be the easiest area to adjust because you can mostly outsource it.

 ADJUSTMENTS

  1. Hire a marketing firm to help you with rebranding or to edit some of your material.
  2. Upgrade the quality and appearance of your financial plan deliverable
  3. Hire a decorator to get your office look to match and update your dress code.



PRACTICE ALIGNMENT


As you develop your business plan, identifying the strategies needed to achieve the mission and the vision of the organization is necessary. When the tactical execution of the plan is out of alignment with the vision, it creates tension. Investing time and capital in correcting this type of misalignment can create big dividends.

Mission - Vision - Values - Strategy - Tactics - Tools


If you do not have the tools to achieve the vision, it is not likely to happen. If the values of the organization include honesty and integrity, but you tell your assistant to say you are in a meeting, while you are out on the golf course, there is a misalignment. Small as it may seem, this type of misalignment can undermine the organization and unintentionally create a message that you are not serious about the goals and values of the organization.

QUESTIONS

  1. Does everyone on the team know the vision of the practice?
  2. Is everyone on the team aware of the values of the organization and do they abide by them?
  3. Do you have the expertise and the tools required to execute your business plan and achieve your mission?


The leaders of the organization need to cast a vision consistently. Without vision, the people perish; it gives life to your team! A strong brand mantra not only helps concisely communicate your brand’s mission and the benefits of your services, but it also inspires both your employees and clients. The values of the organization should not be something that employees signed off on in the employee manual, but something that is lived out by every team member. Moreover, if you do not have the skills and tools to do the work, the vision is more of a mirage.

ADJUSTMENTS

  1. Speak the vision, print the vision. Make it impossible to be part of your organization and not know the vision.
  2. Review the corporate values as a team and reflect on your corporate culture. Permit anyone on the team to call out a violation of the practice values without fear of recourse. These values should be something everyone in the organization is held accountable to work by, including the leader.
  3. Take a class, buy a new computer – fix whatever it is that is essential to executing the vision.



POSITION ALIGNMENT

When what you are doing and accomplishing on a regular basis is aligned with your intended purpose you are in alignment with your organization. It will look like this:


Practice Goals - Culture - Job Description - Key Tasks - Model Week - Actual Calendar - Productivity Report


QUESTIONS

  1. Is your job description current?
  2. Is it possible to achieve your key tasks based on your skills and within your model week?
  3. What does an ideal work week look like for you? What is a win in your role? Are you motivated to achieve it?


 ADJUSTMENTS

  1. Current and consistent feedback – On a very regular basis (as in not only at an annual review), each team member needs to know how they are doing. It is great to do this at a recurring meeting, but it can be as simple as sharing your appreciation when you pass in the hallway. For example, you could say something like, “Hey, great job with that plan presentation for Mr. and Mrs. Jones. They told me how impressed they are with you. I’m glad we reassigned them to you.”

    If you don’t get feedback, request it. It is important that excellent work is recognized, and errors are quickly corrected.

  2. Contemplated course correction – When a job description doesn’t even come close to what a person is doing from day to day, it can create confusion. If the role has changed, it should be a purposeful, evident change with an updated job description, and possibly a title change as well. If, however, it is the unintended consequence of changing directions too frequently where no one in the organization knows what is expected of them, that is another matter. Making more significant changes annually and smaller ones quarterly can allow people to have expectations of improvement without wondering what new thing will be heading their direction today. Of course, if you’re standing on a burning platform, do it now!

  3. Be an “all-in” organization – People will follow you anywhere if they catch the vision, believe in it and see the integrity of your corporate culture. This is total engagement. It is rare, but incredibly potent.



If you’d like to discuss any of the questions or adjustments in this article, connect with us. We are here to help you develop a well-aligned, great practice. Together, we can build some of these strategies into your project plan.

If you find you are in good alignment, let us know; you deserve a pat on the back!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bernie DeLaRosa, ​CFP®, ChFC® CRPC®, CLU®, APMA®, CASL®, BFA™
Managing Business Consultant


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HOW IS YOUR ALIGNMENT?