As an organization expands, more and more focus is required to run each functional area of an organization – strategy, operations, engineering, marketing and sales. This is mandated by the ever-increasing need to expand and improve the processes and results of each of these functions. To successfully execute on the mandate, organizations staff key positions in each area with the right experts – in turn, increasing the strength and focus of each area. However, one disastrous side-effect of such an increase in functional focus is the loss of organizational focus. Each department operates on its own terms and timelines, often with conflicting priorities.

In successful organizations, the purpose of existence of each of these functions is tied to the organization’s vision and mission. The vision becomes the guiding light for the high-level strategy. The execution strategy of each organizational function branch out from the high-level strategy. Most importantly, the priorities are aligned across the entire organization. The engineering division has to work based on both the market and the product vision. The marketing plan should align with the release schedules of the engineering department. The sales force needs to be armed with the product knowledge before the product release. The go-to-market strategy should reflect the organization’s mission – what the organization ultimately wants to achieve / provide. The operations team should be able to support all these departments without losing focus on process improvements.

As with most factors critical to success, it is easier said than done. The need to educate and emphasize the big-picture across the organization is only a first step in the right direction. What is more important is to continuously track and realign the plans and priorities across the entire organization. How about something like a dashboard for every level of the organization, that maps the current execution of the unit against the overall organization’s plan? [tweetmeme source=”FlaringSparks” only_single=false]