The Need for Business Alignment (2 of 3)

“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”

– Jack Kinder

In Part 1 of this series, we started to explore the idea that many of our challenges and opportunities could be viewed in terms of alignment, or a lack thereof.  In this article, we’ll delve in a little more and introduce the concept of an alignment framework.

By stepping back from the details of our day-to-day lives we’re able to see across a multitude of situations and begin to realize the pervasive impacts of misalignment.  Imagine zooming back far enough from the scene of a skirmish to bring the entire battle and all its troop movements into view.  From the bird’s eye view of a general, we can readily see the importance and far reaching impacts of alignment.

As business leaders and owners, we are the generals of our respective businesses.  When we pull back from the details of some dissatisfied client, a few frustrated employees or our new marketing campaign, we are afforded the opportunity to see their interconnectedness.  From this new vantage point we may recognize that our previous marketing campaign set unrealistic expectations with certain prospects, whose expectations were unmet as they became clients, triggering frustration from the employees working to reconcile the new clients’ expectations with what we could realistically deliver.

As we focus on alignment it compels us to think more strategically and establish structure, nomenclature, strategies and tools to support us.  These are the elements of an alignment framework.  As we learn and internalize these elements, we begin to see applications everywhere.  For example, once we realize our value system is a key driver within our alignment framework we begin to see its impacts across all areas of our lives.

Of course, the standard no silver bullet caveat applies.  There are plenty of times when the situations we face require specific and tailored responses or action plans.  Focusing first on alignment does not necessarily alleviate all effort from a given situation, but it does increase the likelihood that such effort is correctly and judiciously applied.  If our new marketing campaign sends the right message regarding our capabilities, meeting and exceeding our clients expectations becomes easier and lest costly.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll look at the impact of a single practice from our alignment framework on a set of apparently diverse business situations.

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