Clarity of Purpose: Corporate Strategy

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This is an excerpt from our upcoming Ask Linda eBook, on Corporate Strategy part of Chapter Seven: Clarity of Purpose

Dear Linda,
I’m the new product manager for a promising division of a prominent technology company in Silicon Valley. I am thriving in my new role and really enjoying the experience for the most part. However, every once in a while, there’s a conflict between what my group and product team are doing and the overall direction of the company. Its not serious, but it does make me wonder about the stability of the product team and the direction of the company. any thoughts?
She who is looking for alignment.

Dear She, congratulations on your new role, and glad that you are enjoying it. It’s good to recognize that there is a misalignment between the corporate strategy and that of your group. Here are some ideas on what you can do about it:

1. Decide why you chose this company and this product and how its objectives aligns with what you want to do, where you want the product to go.
2. Consider how what you want, what the product teams mandate is, and the overall corporate goals are in alignment – at the moment, the overall trends, and where it is heading.
3. Know your walking point – when your product or company strategy is to far from your own, when the distance between the product and company objectives are too great. Be prepared to walk under those circumstances, or just to stay the course, knowing that the situation is less than ideal and keeping a lookout for what’s next.
4. If you are invested in the company and product team, decide at what point you should approach someone about the perceived lack of alignment between the overall corporate strategy and your product team objectives.
5. Then work out the strategy for doing so – the who, how, why, when, what.
6. Your strategy should be collaborative between groups, and engage at all levels. It should have a win-for-all objective.
7. Your strategy and message will not likely be well received, so you must be tough, resilient and persistent. Most of all, you should anticipate who might not like what the message is and why.
8. You should also listen deeply and well to how others are responding and what their motivations are for this response and adjust your strategy accordingly.
9. Recruit executive sponsors and outside partners who have vested interest in this alignment.
10. Measure and communicate results and evolve plans for building alignment between your product team and corporate strategy.

Best of luck with this challenging but essential task!
Linda

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