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Organizational Alignment

When a reduction in force change occurs, it is important that everyone develop a clear understanding of what is happening and what is expected of them. Managers at all levels can complete the Organization Alignment Checklist to help confirm that they have received the information and taken the actions they need to help build alignment during the transition. Each team can use the checklist to guide, self-monitor, and track their actions to ensure alignment.

This checklist is based on the following assumptions:
• Change occurs more effectively when all of the affected parties understand the change.

• Change is challenging. Communication gaps and misunderstandings about expectations make it even more challenging. Missing information and gaps in understanding need to be identified and addressed.

• Each manager and/or supervisor can help ensure alignment in their area if they:
o Understand the implications for their area;
o Understand any "new" objectives established from above and ensure that their department's or team's objectives are aligned with those from the division and/or institution;
o Understand any changes in roles, structure, or decision-making that were established from institutional and division leaders and make appropriate changes in their own area;
o Prepare to support and lead the change (e.g., anticipate reactions, identify obstacles);
o Seek additional input or clarification from the people at higher levels within the organization;
o Communicate and discuss the implications of the change, modifications to objectives, roles, structure, etc., with the people who report to them;
o Clarify expectations for their direct reports; and
o Provide on going communications and follow-up on progress

• A reduction in force often necessitates changes in objectives, roles, structure, and expectations. Some of these changes need to be established at the top, others should be established at lower levels of the institution based on an understanding of the big picture.

The checklist can be used by managers to ensure organizational alignment during a change. If necessary, you can edit the entries in the checklist to make them conform to your division or department's specific change effort.


Last Updated: 5/13/09