“We don’t have time for that stuff.”
I’m not a data freak. I’m not a research expert. I’m not a number cruncher. I’m not an analyst.
I’m blessed and gifted with a brilliant set of brains and common sense that I’m trying to use appropriately without overusing them.
Twenty percent of my brain capacity creates 80 percent of the results. Why would I try to engage the remaining 80% of my brain if it only adds 20% and consumes significantly more energy?
Of course, I’m exaggerating here to make a point.
Logical thinking often makes a difference.
I don’t know whether the statement I will make next is scientifically defendable and valid.
My common sense and the experiences I have with clients tell me I’m pretty close or, in fact, dead right.
A lack of alignment is the number one reason why many businesses don’t perform at their best.
Alignment of direction as it gets translated into purpose, vision, strategy, and goals. This lack of alignment requires more time to sit together as the top executive team and wrestle until you’re clear.
Not fake clear because the boss decides, hierarchy dominates, people are afraid to speak up, or everyone thinks/acts/dresses/smells/talks the same.
Lack of alignment is a corporate disease. We’re treating the symptoms, but we’re not looking at the root cause.
Therefore, what’s needed for good alignment?
First, you need to be willing to make time to get aligned. Deep alignment means you need to have the discipline to meet and talk things through.
Second, you need to be crystal clear on the outcome of the alignment process. What are you actually trying to accomplish that you need deep alignment for?
Third, a high degree of self-awareness is key. Which is often absent. Many studies have proven that executives consistently overestimate their ability to inspire, guide the organization, and be effective. Just asked people ‘below’ you.
Fourth, invest in trust. Trust is at an all-time low. One of my standard questions when interviewing executives is whether they trust each other. More often than not, the answer is evasive or flat-out no. Often, the reason is that people need to make time to get to know each other and exchange drive, ambition, fears, and values. The ‘soft’ stuff, as most call it.
Fifth, embrace diversity of thought. You need tension, conflict, different perspectives, and creativity in your teams. Nothing good will come from building a company with people who think like you, talk like you, act like you, look like you, etc. Instead, create a culture that loves creativity.
Last but not least. Make your values crystal clear to everyone. Translate them into concrete behaviors and execute against them. Connect the values of individuals to the culture and values of your company. When people feel their values are aligned with the place they work, their engagement levels are higher.
Yes, it’s a lot. And it requires an investment. But like with most ‘projects’ that require an investment, you won’t get the payoff if you don’t invest.
There are no shortcuts.
You’ll need to make time and invest in alignment if you’d like to achieve what you set out to achieve.
Or lower your standards and expectations.
There’s always a choice.
Your turn: What’s your choice?
Do more of what makes you happy!
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