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Just because people want to work together does not mean they can – or will. Employees who are not aligned execute plans poorly; but there is more: They rob themselves of the elite experience of realizing their potential.

If you can rapidly align a group of people, your work as a leader is in demand. Of the five primary methods leaders use to align groups, which is the method you apply the most?

  1. Alignment through crisis   Not long ago leaders (who were poorly skilled in the other techniques) would fabricate a crisis. Now, most team members are numbed out by a constant state of multiple catastrophes.
  2. Alignment through shared objectives or governance   This essential method only gets teams so far. Employees operating with clear objectives or process maps – who do not have collaborative skills – always struggle.
  3. Alignment through collaboration   Disciplined collaboration (defined in last week’s blog) is an inclusive approach that leads to accelerated problem solving and decision making. (If “collaboration” in your organization means your business is slowing down, you are doing it wrong.)
  4. Alignment through command and control   While leadership direction must always be constant, it should always optimize talent rather than oppress it.
  5. Alignment through consensus building   There are scenarios when this approach is required, but too often it is over-used in organizations as a means to avoid conflict.

Situations, scenarios, and styles all influence the method by which a team should align themselves to strategies, plans and priorities. A case can be made for each of the methods, including using combinations.

The objective is not to use just one approach; rather, strength comes in awareness. There is a correlation between a team’s ability to be agile in its methods for achieving alignment – and that team’s ability to execute successfully.

Your employees want to work together. What approach will you use to enable them to do so?

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