Organizational Alignment: Is it a mythical beast?
Over the past decade I have been on the full spectrum from learning about organizational alignment and initially being skeptical of the concept to being a devote alignment clergy member. Yes, organizational alignment exists! Please drink the Kool-Aid with me. It is delicious for both you as a leader in the organization and for the organization as a whole. However, to my genuine shock, not every leader has experienced this epiphany yet. When they do, and they will, it will be a defining "aha" moment. So, I will continue to be the lone voice in the wilderness shouting for all to hear: fight for and obtain organizational alignment! It truly exists for those who seek it, but like most things that have value it will not come easily. Once you discover it, then you need to fight to keep it. Maintain it. Nourish it!
Have you seen a unicorn, a sasquatch, or the Loch Ness Monster? Most people say they are mythical creatures that have been supported by glimpses of witnesses through time or mentioned in historical documents over the past several decades and in some cases centuries of man-kind. Some may believe in the existence of these mythical creatures and some may not. Have you seen organizational alignment? Or should I say feel it? Do you believe in the existence of this organizational concept?
You may be thinking, what does organizational alignment look like? How will I know when I see it? When I feel it? To your chagrin, I humbly and earnestly submit to you my brothers and sisters: you will know it when you see it! This concept should not seem odd to you. Love? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Happiness, joy, and enthusiasm? What do these emotions look like? Feel Like? Akin to organizational alignment, you know it when you see it, feel it! I believe United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said it best when he ruled on a test to define obscenity in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."
Organizational alignment is mission critical for the success of any organization. You have to be playing and or operating in one accord. Be all on the same page. All tugging and pulling in one direction. Truly we can achieve much more when you engage the minds and skillsets of your team members in one accord. When everyone is pulling the wagon in the same direction, you are going to get that wagon to the shared desired destination with much less effort. Imagine or think back to your organizational efforts to accomplish a shared goal, objective, or goal? When you succeeded chances are you developed and maintained alignment. You pulled the wagon to the desired destination in one accord. Now think about the times, and they do happen, when despite your best efforts put toward pulling that wagon to the desired destination you did not get it there or you may have arrived, but it was an immense struggle. These are the times when one or more members of your "team" were pulling against the efforts of the remainder of the team. They may have been pulling it slightly off course, or entirely in the opposite direction. That my friends is when you are out of alignment! You can feel that too. It is not magical. It is very frustrating and counter productive.
One last thing about organizational alignment: it is fickle and elusive. When you develop it, cherish and run toward the goal! It is fleeting. You may lose it before you arrive. Make haste and accomplish all you can when you have it. Organizational alignment is magical. Relish in it and work hard during your journey to continually maintain it. It is not one and done! You as a leader need to keep a mindful eye on alignment and work feverishly to maintain it. The success of your team depends on it.