Magic Bullets for Alignment and Commitment

Leigh Bailey | February 17, 2010 | Blog | Leadership Team Development | 1 minute read

Alignment and commitment are essential ingredients to your organization’s success. Unfortunately, they are often the most difficult to achieve. Why are motivation and alignment so challenging to realize?

In my last blog, I talked about the importance of a shared vision in creating alignment and commitment. But vision alone is not enough.

Here is an experiment that may provide part of the answer to why that is the case. In your next team meeting, ask each team member to independently write down the team’s top five goals in priority order, the metrics used to measure the goals, and the target date for each goal to be achieved. I will bet that you will not have identical answers.

Now, translate that to the level of a Senior Leadership Team (SLT). If the SLT is not in absolute agreement on the goals, priorities, and measures of success for the company AND for the SLT, the seeds of misalignment have been sown.

Did you ever play telephone as a kid? The game where someone whispers something into the ear of the person next to them and then they in turn whisper to the next person? What makes this game fun and funny is that by the time the message is passed through several people, it is often completely different than what it started out to be. Unfortunately, this same phenomenon is not as funny in organizations. When SLT members communicate different goals and priorities to their departments, the inevitable result is different parts of the company working at cross purposes with each other. This is a major reason why some organizations work well within silos but not cross-functionally. Conflict and frustration often follow.

Whether you are a CEO, director or first line supervisor, make certain that the vision for your organization is clear and as specific as possible. Then, work with your team to identify the most important priorities for the next year to begin to realize the vision. Next, translate the priorities into specific goals with metrics and time frames, document them, and review them with the team often.

The truth is, there are no “magic bullets” for achieving alignment and motivation. But, there is something close. Work on developing clear goals and priorities and watch productivity and commitment grow as a result.