When was the last time you thought about the significance of alignment? It affects performance in so many ways. Our car drives straight and true when it is properly aligned. Doors open and close when they align with the frame as they should. Chiropractic promotes health benefits with proper alignment of the spine. I’m sure at least one or two other things that rely on alignment come to mind when you think about it. How about your business?
In business, alignment is when we the entire team is moving shoulder-to-shoulder in the same direction, focused on the same thing, speaking in one voice. This is wholly different from what we typically picture when thinking about company alignment. It is horizontal alignment rather than the typical Top-Down, vertical alignment as many companies focus on.
We gain that great alignment when everyone on the team shares the same understanding on what we as an organization have a vision to achieve and how we are going to be successful. Where we often stumble in this process is in making sure everyone understands how his or her contribution directly relates to our level of success. Side-by-side our contribution is equally important regardless of our roles. While our tasks and when do them may be different, our focus is the same, we are synchronized, working in harmony with each other and our clients.
When I close my eyes and think about what that means, I picture a marching band. Dozens of musicians, each one individually focused on playing their part, yet universally focused on being in step with the rest of the band. When they do it well and are successful the sound and precision are incredible to hear and see. When they don’t, it can turn into a train wreck. All it takes is one or two people who miss a few notes here and there or turn to the left when the rest of the team is going to the right. So every note and every step is equally important to gaining that precise alignment both individually and as a team.
A company has a lot in common with a marching band. The individual notes (tasks/roles) we play and the precision in our steps (standards/processes) are all equally important. Each and every one has a tremendous impact on how successful you are at creating great alignment and moving forward side-by-side toward your vision.
I urge you to take some time today and look at the alignment of your team. If it exists, continue to encourage and nurture them to stay aligned. If it isn’t, don’t wait for the train wreck. Foster them, inspire them, and tell them over and over why alignment is critical to the team and the individual.