One reason why some organizations are unable to elevate themselves into the high-performance category is because they lack alignment. Think of alignment in terms of a rowing team. Alignment is having the right people in the boat, in the right seats, rowing together in unison towards a common goal.
Alignment means that the goals and objectives of the CEO are distilled throughout every department, function and job position within the organization. The goals and objectives of all employees, from the lowest level in the organization up to and including the CEO are fully aligned; everyone’s on the same page. Does this describe your organization? If you answered “yes,” where’s your proof?
Not having organizational alignment is kind of like having one of those high-performance multimillion dollar NASCAR race cars and having a 90 year-old lady (or gentleman) driving it. No doubt the powerful car can be driven, but not to its potential. As a CEO of your company that’s a bad feeling. Having an organization with the potential to go 200-MPH, but you have the wrong driver, which limits you to 50-MPH. Not good!
Identifying Performance Gaps:
Here’s a simple and straightforward exercise you can use to help you identify performance gaps and help get your organization closer to alignment. Develop a list of desired attributes, habits, and disciplines for each job position within your organization. For example, attributes like: integrity, intelligence, energy, optimistic, passionate, enthusiasm, initiative, self-learner, dependable, goes the extra mile, willing to question and challenge, sense of ownership, sense of urgency, sense of humor, etc. You get the idea.
Now ask yourself if the immediate supervisor for the job position you listed the attributes for, consistently demonstrates these same attributes, habits and disciplines. If your answer is “No,” you’ve just identified a performance gap which is causing your organization to be out of alignment (i.e. 50-MPH vs. 200-MPH).
Now what are you going to do? I suggest you quickly fix it, otherwise these people will continue to be a drag on your organization’s ability to shift into a high-performance gear. And while you wait to take corrective action (or worse yet, do nothing), your competition is passing you by. There are only two types of people on the battlefield: the quick and the dead.
Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying, “Nothing happens until something moves.” I’ve worked many organizations that are stricken with “analysis paralysis.” They’re either in denial when it comes to facing reality or gun shy to make the hard calls. And while they sit by deciding what to do, innovative companies built for speed pass them by rendering them obsolete in the process. In today’s fast-paced, continually evolving global marketplace, speed wins – and conversely, lack of speed kills!
If after reading this column you decide to take a hard, honest look at your organization and determine that you’re not fully aligned, what should you do? Do something, anything, to create momentum. Momentum is hard to get, but once you have it, things start to happen and results soon follow.
Take a walk through your organization and start asking questions of your employees like: 1) What are the goals and key objectives for our organization this year? 2) What are your employees’ goals and key objectives (alignment to the organizations?) 3) Find out what your employees are currently working on (alignment?).
If your organization is not continually evolving, growing, learning, and reinventing itself, then it will soon become obsolete to those organizations that are.
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