Aligning with True North
You have your Why and your Vision, the next step to help your team to be on the same journey with you – to have alignment in the team.
Alignment is a collaborative leadership process that is not rocket science, but it does take discipline, commitment, and follow-up from committed champions. It is easy to understand, takes commitment to implement, and is well worth the effort. Without alignment, your team may be working at cross purposes or worse, pulling in different directions, leading to confusion amongst team members and stakeholders.
Your organization is aligned when every team member is bought in to the vision, and everyone knows their unique role in making the vision a reality.
Effective leaders recognise that their team members will do their best work when they are committed to a purpose and a vision. They recognise that commitment is the gateway to accountability, self-motivation and creative problem solving. Effective leaders seek alignment.
Alignment is not a single item on a successful organisation checklist – it is a fluid process that requires continual monitoring and adjustment as conditions and needs change.
In order to start to create organisational alignment as a leader, you must be able to explain your vision with clarity:
- What is the most compelling reason why this new effort is being undertaken?
- What are the essential details?
- How can details be grouped together in a way that’s simple and logical?
- What 2-3 points do I want people to walk away with?
- What is the clearest way to describe how the group will benefit when it’s all done?
It is also essential that each individual in the organisation understands why their role is important and how it fits into the bigger picture. At the main Toyota plant in Japan, everyone has the authority to stop the production line if they see something that doesn’t fit with the companies quality standards – from senior leadership to cleaners to canteen staff – everyone is invested in the quality of the product. At the RPT in Spain, the person who cleans the office twice a week is invited to the monthly team-wide meeting – because without them doing their job well, the company would be less effecive, so their role is just as important to the success of the organisation as anyone else’s – that is True Alighnment.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Sainte-Exupery