Our leadership development and coaching consultant, Annabel Graham, has spent 20 years leading and guiding over 200+ teams in a range of companies, and is an expert on how teams evolve. She works with leaders and senior teams to help engage employees with their core purpose, and put the building blocks in place to create businesses which have high performing teams with aligned goals at every level. Here she explores what Creating Alignment means and why it matters to your organisation.
Okay, let’s just do a quick audit of your business…
- Have you got a strategy in place in your organisation?
- Have you taken that strategy and communicated it to the direct reports below you?
- Have you aligned the personal development objectives of those direct reports back to that strategy so that it links in and delivers business goals at their functional level?
- Have your direct reports cascaded it down to the level below and aligned their personal objectives back to their functional strategy to make sure their departments deliver them and deliver your corporate goal?
Have you answered yes to everything so far? Really..? Honestly..?
Ok, that’s great! So, can you honestly say that you can go to the lowest level of your organisation and ask them “why is it you do what you do? What is the point of your role and what are your development plans?”
And can they articulate that back to you in a really simple and easy fashion and say “my line manager and I have agreed goals that link to what I need to achieve and what the business needs to achieve”.
If you can honestly say yes to that, give yourself a pat on the back, because you have done what very few of us manage in organisations – created alignment!!
During a visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, President Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”
“Well, Mr President” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
How great would it be if everyone at every level of your business could articulate your goals that clearly?
- How many of you have mission statements and visions?
- How many of us have defined values for our company that align to those visions and mission statements? That we walk, live, breathe and demonstrate within our businesses on a daily basis and that our employees buy into and believe, live, demonstrate and talk about on a daily basis.
How many times does that happen? Not many.
Many times we write a strategy; it goes on a piece of paper, we talk about it to a few people and then it goes on the intranet or it gets sent out to the heads of department. They look at it, don’t understand it because it isn’t communicated clearly and it’s not simple, so it goes in a drawer. Or we talk about it at the company conference, big bang style, and hope it filters down through the levels by osmosis. The reality is very few employees know how their role contributes to the organisational aims, and often they don’t care.
Truly, honestly, do we speak to the people who we really want to engage?
Engaging with our people is often too hard for us, but we should do so much more of it, especially as our organisational landscape is changing so rapidly, and engagement is key! Because when we do, we start to listen and we start to ask the right questions. Then we start to find out what we should have known if we’d only had the time to stop, think and pay attention in the first place.