Salesforce and Cisco attribute their Corporate Success to these Strategic Alignment Methods

Updated: Nov 4

Let us consider the possibility that even the most efficient organizations can fail. How is it possible for a highly productive company to fail? Well, what if the team builds the wrong thing? In other words, the company has been very efficient, but not very effective.


I once worked on a project where the engineering team built a comprehensive architecture, that although impressive from an engineering point, failed to deliver any customer facing value. It had taken the team one year to build the perfect architecture, but the project failed to deliver anything the customer could use. By time the first customer facing features were created, the product missed its window of opportunity and much of it had to be scrapped.


The first step toward effectiveness is alignment. This means that the organization needs to align the vision to its execution and monitor its trajectory. There are diverse ways to do this. Which method you choose may depend on your Agile framework and preference.


Salesforce uses the V2MOM approach. Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chairman and CEO considers it a key success factor of the company. The strength of the V2MOM is its simplicity. It offers clarity and alignment by defining the goal, lays a course for getting there, anticipates the challenges, and determines if the team is on the right path. Each team and team member crafts a decomposition of the V2MOM ensuring they align with their high-level organization. All V2MOMs are then posted for everyone to see. They are considered living artifacts and are constantly reviewed to stay on course to achieve the goal.


· Vision – Long-term goal of what you want to achieve.

· Values – What beliefs will guide you to reach your goal?

· Methods – What actionable steps will you take to achieve the vision?

· Obstacles – What challenges to you expect to find and how do you plan to mitigate them?

· Measures – How will you track the results as you achieve the vision?


While I was at Cisco, we used the VSEM approach to offer strategic clarity for the whole organization. By understanding the organization’s VSEM and seeing a decomposition of it in the form of supporting VSEMs, employees can track their contribution all the way to top-level objectives. This creates incredible transparency and understanding for everyone involved. It also drives the message that we are in this together and your work matters.


· Vision – Ambitious and long-term future state we are trying to achieve

· Strategy – How to achieve the goals by utilizing the realistic resources

· Execution – Well-defined set of outputs that, combined, make up the elements of a successful strategy.

· Metrics – Quantifiable results measurements that allows us to inspect and adapt

What strategy is your organization using to make sure you are efficient and effective?

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