Organisational alignment starts at the very top, with a conversation leadership teams should be having, but aren’t. A conversation about the things that really matter.
What are our goals? Who do we have to be to achieve those goals? How do we need to be different as an organisation to get there?
The big and important questions that are fundamental to getting universal buy in and everyone moving in the right direction.
This conversation is not being had, as leadership teams are invariably busy working in the business; solving problems, doing the day-to-day, task-oriented work, executing strategy and striving to deliver short-term financial results. They aren’t given the time, opportunity or mental space to stop the doing, and actually discuss the most important questions about the company’s future.
Executives, unprepared for the challenges of senior leadership, struggle to see the bigger picture, if one exists at all.
Despite appearing harmonious, leadership teams are more often than not on different pages. Executives, unprepared for the challenges of senior leadership, struggle to see the bigger picture, if one exists at all, choosing instead to focus on what they’re good at – the doing. They also never see the business the same way, as the lens through which they are looking is invariably the narrow lens of their role, and the function for which they are responsible.
If leadership teams don’t sit down and have the discussion they should be having, alignment between the Board, senior leaders and employees will remain elusive.
Misalignment undermines the vision. It prevents people working together efficiently and prioritising the goals that really matter. It leads to decisions being made that compromise the business. It diminishes the customer experience and erodes brand loyalty. And it makes employees feel disenfranchised and disengaged.
If you’ve already had this conversation, chances are the framework you relied upon was Mission, Vision and Values.
If you’ve already sat down as a leadership group and had this conversation, chances are the framework you relied upon was Mission, Vision and Values. If so, the final question to ask is, ‘how effective has it been?’.
Do you now have a clear articulation of why you exist, what business you are in, why you matter to customers, where you are going and how you will get there?
Does everyone share that view? Is it clear what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and are people truly inspired to do it?
Even with the best of intentions, most leadership teams struggle to accurately and clearly articulate their business’ place in the world because the traditional frameworks for leading the conversation are broken.
Which is why you see so many companies with convoluted, jargony, and all-encompassing declarations of intent that say nothing about who they actually are, what they truly do for a living or what they are striving to achieve.
Get your people moving
in the right direction