Last week we discussed alignment, a critical component of organizational effectiveness and innovation success.  Perhaps even more critical is the impact of alignment on profit margins.

If senior leadership is not in agreement about where to focus R&D dollars, innovation managers will not know where to focus efforts.  Short-term projects rule the day, competing priorities confuse people, and results fall short. Large organizations seem to struggle the most. They push for growth and innovation, yet fear losing current business. So the message is mixed – take risks, but don’t forget the bread and butter.

What’s an innovation leader to do?  If misaligned tires slow down a car, how can misaligned companies move fast, steer straight, and get the best mileage?

According to a recent Accenture white paper, Increasing Agility to Fuel Growth and Competitiveness, there are several steps you can take:

  • First, know where growth is coming from
  • Make informed decisions and identify the right areas to funnel costs
  • Align cost reduction and reinvestment to the growth strategy
  • Foster a culture centered on continuous cost management with outcome-based measures and metrics
  • Weed out inefficiencies; leverage new technologies
  • Change how the company operates across the ecosystem

These steps are not simple, and organizational buy-in is everything. In an agile, aligned organization, knowledge workers become judgment workers, decisions are predictive vs. reactive, and people move together swiftly with confidence. New operating models and approaches like zero-based budgeting can yield millions of dollars in savings, which can then be used to fuel growth strategies.

The white paper discusses how to create cost-competitive operating models and make the necessary cultural shift. Shiv Iyer, who has helped many top companies build capabilities and drive reinvestment for growth, will share how-tos and examples at the Innovation & Growth Leadership Summit.  If your organization needs better alignment around R&D spend, this talk is not to be missed.

Your questions and comments are encouraged in advance.  Either email me or post on our LinkedIn group.  Look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Chicago!