Organizational alignment is one of the central goals that communicators should strive for in their daily activities. Driving alignment means taking a strategic perspective on communications that sheds light on the broad context of an initiative at issue: what is the initiative about? What’s its purpose? Who do we want to reach? Why are these audiences important?
This concept of alignment is particularly important if you’re working in a public or not-for-profit organization. In a private company, alignment is largely achieved through ‘following the money’. Even though there may be intense debate about priorities or target markets, there’s at least a basic understanding that the company is in business to make money.
In contrast, public sector organizations and not-for-profits tend to have a much higher level of internal struggle when it comes to defining a clear set of corporate objectives and associated target outcomes. They’re not only driven by the bottom line. These environments are more malleable: they can be many different things and move in a variety of directions. The result can be conflict, confusion or chaos.
If you’re a communicator working in this kind of setting, consider the upside: the fluid nature of your organization means that you get a better chance to be creative and make a difference. It also means that driving internal alignment will be all the more important to setting the conditions for your success. So keep it a top-of-mind concept in your working life.