Yesterday the health minister in the Czech Republic got fired.
The official message was that he resigned, but everyone knows he was not aligned with the prime minister on the Covid vaccination strategy.
Up to the next health minister. Number four in one year’s time.
Number one ‘resigned’ because he didn’t handle the first wave well (lowest numbers in the EU).
Number two ‘resigned’ because he thought that curfew restrictions were not for ministers, and he was seen in a ‘closed’ restaurant past curfew time.
Number three ‘resigned’ because he didn’t want to buy the Sputnik vaccine from Russia now. Both the prime minister and the president (who loves Russia) were not happy.
When you don’t see eye to eye with the prime minister (a billionaire with the help of EU subsidies), you have to go.
Just like in any business (forgive me my cynicism).
In this case, there was no agreement and no alignment.
It’s ok to disagree behind closed doors, as long as you demonstrate alignment when dealing with the public, customers, or any stakeholders you impact with your work.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about psychological safety being the number one condition required to drive team performance.
Being aligned is a close second.
A team that’s not aligned won’t win.
It’s the reason why sports teams with big superstars don’t always win.
The coaches rely on the qualities of the stars to ensure they win their matches.
And often don’t spend enough time aligning the team behind a common purpose.
The coaches who invest the time in aligning the team behind purpose, strategy, and goals have a higher chance of winning.
It’s that simple.
Great teams in business, sports, politics, art, etc., spend hours and hours aligning themselves.
They do not rely on the power of the ‘leader’ or the qualities of the stars.
They make it all about the team effort.
The best example for me remains a symphony orchestra.
Many years ago, I had the privilege to sit with an orchestra and watch them rehearse.
Each of us sat next to one musician and observed. Our only purpose was to watch alignment at work.
When we left, my view on alignment had changed forever.
If one musician is off, the performance is off.
If the conductor cannot get the best out of each player, the performance will not succeed.
Optimum performance is a team effort.
It’s a team effort resulting from hours of practice.
Including spending time getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of each player collectively.
Performance works the same way in business, sports, and politics.
If one team member is off, the performance is off.
We just don’t witness it that easily in business.
People can have an off day and get away with it because the consequences are often not visible or dramatic.
But is it fair towards stakeholders like customers, spectators, or citizens?
Should we accept that a business, sports organization, or government is not doing its utmost to be aligned and maximize performance?
Should we accept that people are forced to resign just because they have a different perspective?
Should we accept that we often live with and rely on power and hierarchy instead of dialogue, diversity of thought, and time invested on getting aligned?
We accept it because we realize how hard it is.
And I’m not sure it will change when we continue to allow weak ‘leaders’ to stay in their positions.
But here’s what I DO know.
The best teams don’t always win. But aligned teams do.
Your turn: how aligned is your team?
Do more of what makes you happy.