August 31, 2021

The Powerful Connection Between Alignment and Growth

Al Cini

Brand and Culture Alignment can be measured and managed to accelerate growth.

Over a period of 3 years (2013-2015) we studied 620 people in 64 different organizations – commercial and not-for-profit, media, manufacturing, and professional service delivery –  to confirm that programs like our Brand and Culture Alignment Toolkit (BCAT) can improve employee engagement. During this period, shortly before and 90-to-180 days after each trial BCAT program, we used Gallup’s Q12 survey to measure the percentage of participants in each group who were engaged or very engaged in their work. This value increased from a pre-trial average of less than 30% to a post-trial average of 66% (see Figure 6 below).

(Here’s how you can try our approach for your team:

Does a “soft metric” like employee engagement really make a practical difference to business leaders? Gallup’s research indicates that employee engagement positively influences several Key Performance Indicators.

To confirm this for ourselves, we added two columns to our data model:

  • Index of Alignment (IA), a value between 0 and 1 that indicates the degree of Brand and Culture Alignment among the members of a team; and
  • The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over 2 to 5 years of their organizations’ gross income (revenue for commercial companies and donor/sponsor contributions for NFP’s).

Alignment supports engagement and growth.

We revisited our initial data, merged it with subsequent trials, and found a measurable and manageable relationship between CAGR and Alignment, basing Alignment on a simple principle:

At the heart of every truly effective team, there exists an ideal Role Model (we call this a Role Target) that represents their members’ collective Best Self living their Best Day at work.

Unspoken but very powerful, a team’s Role Target provides an aiming point to measure and manage their members’ degree of Alignment (IA).

We discover the Role Target and calculate the IA of a team by asking a sample of the team’s members, drawn from all organizational levels, an “Incorporating Question:”

Take a moment to visualize your entire team – all of its shared virtues and values, its habits, traditions, tools and methods, everyone of every role and rank – as though it were a single person doing its very best work every day to keep all of your team’s promises and reach all of its goals. What would this ideal “virtual person” be like?

Taken online in about 15 minutes, our BCAT Survey Instrument gathers, quantifies and analyzes the team’s individual responses to this question and plots them as points on a Standard Model of behaviors (Brand) and values (Culture) as illustrated in Figure 1.


Figure 1.
BCAT Survey Responses Mapped on Standard Model of Brand and Culture


We calculate IA as a value between 0 and 1 indicating the randomness in the distribution of a team’s responses, as illustrated in Figures 2 (low or more random) and 3 (high or less random).


Figure 2.
Index of Alignment (IA): 0 ≤ IA ≤ 1 – Represents the Scatter Among Points Plotted on the Standard Model
(In this example IA=~.3 – a low Index of Alignment.)
Figure 3.
(In this example IA=~.7 – a high Index of Alignment.)

Supplementing our original research, for a total of 635 BCAT Survey respondents in 53 organizations who reported their CAGR, we found…

  • Evidence of a relationship between employee engagement and CAGR (Figure 4).
Figure 4
Employee Engagement (measured as average %-age of engaged employees per team) and CAGR.
  • Indications that programs like ours can “move the needle” on employee engagement (Figure 5).
Figure 5
  • Sufficient evidence (Figure 6) to suggest that improving IA and employee engagement can help improve CAGR. (This hypothesis warrants further long-term study.)
Figure 6

So, by the numbers, when we align the way we do our work (our Brand) with our passion for the work we do (our Culture), we become more than just good at our jobs. We become excellent.

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