The Secret To Alignment

Picture of Alignment

What Alignment Looks Like

Is your team 100% aligned around your organization’s goals for 2019? Are you absolutely certain that you are making the right or “bests” projects to drive change and build organizational muscle? Can you deliver with what you have been budgeted, or less? If you are not 110% aligned and committed, 2019 will be a rough year.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all your leaders and every single person were aligned around a common goal and how to get there? What if when disruption happened, and things didn’t go as planned, there was no question about what to do and the biggest decision required was how fast to get it done?

Alignment happens when every single person in the organization is on the same page.

When everyone works towards a shared outcome with a clear understanding of their place in the process. With the freedom to make effective decisions at the point where it makes sense (vs. delegating decision making upwards and waiting on needless levels of approvals).

A Story of Alignment in Action

Here is a true story that illustrates what alignment means in real life. It is a story of what it feels like when disruption hits a company that is truly aligned. This is the story of an auto parts company. The scene opens with one of their teams not delivering.

This particular year, it was the guy in charge of opening 323 new stores whose team, for a variety of reasons, was only able to open 250. If you understand retail, you know that the shiny new stores create a surge in revenue. At this company, that revenue had been committed to shareholders and the stock price depended on it. Around about July, it was apparent they would not see that surge.

To break that down in simple terms:

PROBLEM/DISRUPTION: Not meeting revenue targets
DESIRED OUTCOME: Increase revenue, fast

In many places, that would have prompted a mad scramble and sent everyone into ‘protect your turf’ mode, shifting blame on to someone else as to why revenue targets were being missed. This time things were different, everyone on this team knew their place in the process and everyone was empowered to act effectively.

As the situation played out, you can probably imagine the team meeting when Bill (the head of New Store Opening) showed up. Only this team didn’t even need a meeting or a scramble to figure out what to do. There was no infighting or time wasted throwing Bill under the bus. Instead:

  • The head of sales jumped in and created contests so his team could help cover part of the gap.
  • The head of supply chain found some savings and got high margin product to the store faster.
  • Merchandising tightened up a few contracts with vendors and ran promotions to drive sales.
  • The head of HR figured out how to attract some more qualified store associates and ran some training programs to get more employees ramped up faster.
  • Finance already had metrics in place to ensure that every single associate from the front line to the CEO was incentivized on the same two metrics. No time for wheel-spinning.

THAT’S alignment. 

Disruption Is Inevitable. Are You Prepared?

Every day, something shifts in the market. New technology is invented. A new startup is launched. Something you’ve always done becomes obsolete. Disruption is inevitable. Either you’re facing it right now or will be soon.

As transformation occurs, you have a choice. You can let it be something people resist or you can harness its power to evolve and become a more resilient company…to serve your customers more deeply, to deliver profitable growth, and to create fulfillment for yourself and everyone you work with.

Alignment is about making sure that everyone on your team is working together and supporting one another towards a shared goal AND has the resilience to be energized and elevated by rapid, disruptive change.

Everyone deserves to feel valued and energized and fulfilled at work. To be celebrated for their contributions instead of being treated like a cog in a wheel. ESPECIALLY when things are happening that require them to step up and give more than we’ve ever asked of them before. Which happens every day!

If you want to create resilience on your team so that you can come back stronger and deliver more results in the face of rapid, disruptive change, remember to insist on creating alignment FIRST.

Want to learn more about how to create this kind of alignment? Call Us. It’s what we do.

LeaderShift Insights® aligns people, structure, and investments to drive strategy.