The beginning of a new year or a new quarter gives leaders a key opportunity to influence their organization’s alignment, through goals that are set, and plans that are developed to accomplish them. Done well, this can reinforce alignment across all facets of the organization. Done poorly, this puts you on a frustrating path of eroding alignment.
In this episode, I discuss several questions you can use as a “litmus test” to evaluate the alignment of your goals and plans. When used in this way, the eight dimensions of alignment enable us to focus the efforts, energy, and mindshare of the organization to optimize results and sustainable success.
The eight sets of questions I used in the episode include:
- Does this thing we’re proposing really align with our Purpose? If not, is the issue the objective itself, or just the approach we’re proposing? Either way… fix it.
- Does what we’re planning to do align with the Passion of our organization, and our customers and stakeholders’ Passions? Great plans use the Passion of stakeholders as fuel for success.
- How does this activity add value or quality to our products or services? How does it positively impact our customers? Because just about everything we do impacts products and customers, somehow.
- Is this thing we’re planning to do REALLY a priority? Do we REALLY need to do it at all? What would happen if we did NOT do it… if we just skipped it? Or is it important, but now isn’t the best time to do it, since other things deserve more mindshare?
- Is it clear to our team, how they’re going to accomplish ALL the objectives, with available resources? Everyone deserves to be setup to succeed from the beginning. If you can’t resource it adequately, do it another time.
- How do we ensure that everyone impacted by what we’re planning is ‘in the loop’ and prepared for it? How do we ensure the team gets all the attention and resources and mindshare and knowledge they need to be successful? How will we monitor progress and adjust course while we’re executing the plan?
- Does this thing we’re planning fit with our existing processes? Will it require new processes, or changes to processes? Or is it appropriate to make it “exempt” from some of our processes? Either way, set clear expectations with EVERYONE.
- How will we measure our results? How will we know if we’ve succeeded? What are the RIGHT metrics, that are aligned with the objectives AND aligned with our Purpose and Practices and Culture? If this is some new thing we’re trying or developing, are we placing enough weight on the learning we expect to happen, and are we treating “guesses” about how things might turn out with too much certainty? What’s the right frequency for us to measure? And should we really tie compensation and rewards to it?
The way you build optimal alignment is to consider ALL eight dimensions of alignment in this way, whenever you’re working on Plans, or Priorities, or Products, or any of the individual dimensions within your organization.