I’m not sure how it happened, but one morning I woke up and “alignment” had turned into a dirty word treated with the same disdain as other corporate buzzwords such as synergy, paradigm shift, and collaboration. I hear executives going out of their way to disparage the word. Alignment is much maligned.
Given that this blog is hosted at http://alignment.wordpress.com and that my last company’s slogan was “aligning execution with strategy”, you’re probably not surprised that I wince when it happens. The goal of alignment is to get everyone on the same page. Are executives suggesting that they don’t want people to be better synchronized?
Of course not.
So what’s wrong? People are sick of endless meetings and phone calls. They are sick of trying to get agreement after the fact. They are really sick of discovering that they’ve done a lot of valuable work that is unnecessarily conflicting with other groups. Or worse, work that is not needed because it’s no longer tied to the strategy.
And that’s the key. True alignment should be the result of cascading strategy. True alignment comes with shared objectives, contributory KPIs, and outcome-based initiatives.
You spend less time working on alignment with the right organizational structure. Fewer silos, fewer hand-offs. You spend less time working on alignment with transparency of motivations. Understand bias, understand perspective.
All of this is done before any issues arise.
So go ahead and berate after-the-fact alignment. Stop getting on the unnecessary conference calls. Stop using the word, if you like.
But get people on the same page. Commit to becoming an alignment focused organization.