Unfortunately, this is what it looks like too often when well-intentioned leaders attempt to focus the energy within their organizations:

7 Steps of Shallow Alignment

  1. Persuade everyone to agree on achieving the same goal or priority.
  2. Determine who has what role and responsibilities.
  3. Inform and enroll stakeholders.
  4. Retreat to your desk and hope everyone executes as planned.
  5. Bring everyone together to share status and progress updates.
  6. Respond in horror when discovering colleagues are not aligned in their efforts.
  7. Storm back to step one.

Shallow alignment is a transactional, intellectual agreement. It’s like using shoelaces to tether two boats together. Then, once the waves of new information and unexpected turbulence occur, the alignment breaks. And people drift.

Conversely, this is what it looks like when effective leaders increase the steady flow of value to stakeholders:

7 Steps of Deep Alignment

  1. Facilitate a shared definition of a singular objective, including how success is defined.
  2. Ensure clarity of the relationship between the objective and the enterprise strategy.
  3. After articulating why achieving the objective is important to the organization, activate the intrinsic motivations among colleagues to reveal why they want to achieve the objective.
  4. Draw insights and shared meaning from the data that exists, including the barriers that stand between the group and their objective.
  5. Coordinate and reaffirm roles, responsibilities, and processes for information flow between colleagues.
  6. Establish clarity of authority rights and decision-making criteria.
  7. Plan for agility with contingencies or actions colleagues will take when they experience a deviation from plans.

Deep alignment is rooted in transformational and emotional commitment. It’s the synchronization of energy and efforts among connected colleagues.

Shallow alignment is exhausting; there is less meaning in your work. Deep alignment is enriching; your work is meaningful.

The difference between shallow and deep alignment among colleagues can be felt, heard, observed and measured.

What steps are you taking?



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