Strategy Alignment - What comes first?

Hello, hope some one can help. i'm trying to align strategic workforce planning with the organisation people strategy and the business strategy, however all are within development and work in progress.

im trying to reassure myself about what comes first and what informs the next strategy.

In my head is the below:

  • Organisational objectives set to meet customer demand.>
  • The business strategy would be devised as a framework to meet these objectives and steer the business processes and governance. >
  • The strategic workforce plan would inform what workforce is now and what is required in the future to meet the steer from business strategy.>
  • The people strategy would focus on the people aspect of L&D pay, reward, competence framework etc in line with what we have now and what capabilities we need in the future.

That is my view however would like some thoughts comments on is this right, what works for you and is there any handy 'strategy alignment tools' out there which could be of benefit?

Thanks in advance.


  • Hi Stephen

    That sounds like the right order to me.
  • I agree with Elizabeth. It looks correct, although it is then important to have a plan to implement and embed the strategy.

    I have worked for organisations that have struggled to be be successful and achieve their goals. This has always been due to a near obsession on only ever having strategies and recruiting 'strategic' people and never being remotely interested in having a plan of actions to implement it. I am never sure why people struggle with it as it is something we do all the time in our private lives e.g.

    Goal - to ensure that I have a happy and healthy new year

    Strategy - Have sufficient holidays, improve my fitness and nutrition levels, spend time with friends

    Strategic workforce plan - identify what skills i have and what training do i need and where do i need to 'recruit' (i need to read books (train) myself on nutrition and 'recruit' a personal trainer. I used to be a travel agent so i have the skills to research and book holidays. I have good friends, but need to research places to go with them and 'consult' with the for their views)

    Business Plan - identify available budget, research and book holidays, book car parking, transfers etc, arrange passports, vaccinations etc, Book events with friends. Buy healthy food and ensure suitable storage facilities. Re-prioritise current work to allow extra time to cook healthy food. and attend gym etc etc

    People Plan - Set individual objectives to check progress against plan. Ensure suitable performance review process in place to check progress against objectives. Recruit personal trainer, carry out consultation with friends.

    It is always the actual implementation plan that is the most detailed and and needs suitable time and resources allocated to it. We can have all the strategies we like, but without a plan to actually implement them, it is unlikely to happen.. During my career, I've been surprised by the number of people who openly say 'oh that's just detail - i don't do detail' as though it is something to be proud of. They may as well say 'i'm never going to deliver anything i'm tasked with'

    Hope it goes well
  • Hi Stephen

    I'd add to the comments you already have by firstly saying that the process is always imperfect, evolving etc, so having an 80% workforce plan is a lot better than not having one!

    To your question about alignment tools, I've used a simple matrix before to map and then prioritise the organisational capabilities against the strategic goals. It's really simple but adds a lot of value in the discussions and insights you get from using it with stakeholders. Essentially create a matrix like the one below and assess whether the capability is required to win (score 2), required to play (score 1) or not important (score 2). You can then work out your build/borrow/buy approach with a clear(er) sense of the most critical capabilities needed. 

    Best wishes


    Strategic priorities

    Strategic Priority #1

    Strategic Priority #2

    Strategic Priority #3


    Capability 1





    Capability 2





    Capability 3





    Capability 4





  • In reply to Andy:

    Hi Andy,

    Could you please elaborate the matrix little bit in detail as in example. I could not understand it. I would appreciate if you can.

    Many Thanks,