How to improve Strategic Leadership Alignment in (4) Steps

Picture1

STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP ALIGNMENT

The alignment of any organization starts from its leaders. It's critical to obtain leadership alignment on the organizational vision for the sustainable growth and success of an organization.

However, it is not uncommon for organizational leaders and/or board directors to have different visions. In fact, no leadership team is perfectly aligned at all times. Last year I was nominated to attend the PMI’s Leadership Institute Meeting 2016 – North America in San Diego, CA, which garnered over 1100 leaders from 60 countries and 232 Chapters around the world, including presentations from incredible keynotes such as Simon Sinek, Vinh Giang, and Mel Robbins. This event featured a variety of educational tracks, tools and resources, and networking opportunities. I spoke to leaders from different industries and they all seemed to agree that there is always room for improvement in the board room. An aligned leadership team supports each other and works in sync to accomplish a common goal. When leaders are not aligned, an organization faces the risk of having a dysfunctional team that could trickle down and infect engaged employees. Having a disengaged leadership team can have a negative implication on your organizations ability to prosper. You need one voice echoing the same mission, the same vision, a set of core values that reflects on your organizational culture; delivering a message that is both clear, concise and consistent.

A few months ago, I was part of a team that worked with a client at an Executive MVP Leadership summit. The organization was going through an agile transformation and the goal was to align leadership on where we wanted to go as a program. During the summit, we facilitated a full day's worth of activities to develop actionable solutions that will bring the program closer to its desired state. We began with aligning on the 'Why' behind the organization and identified critical lessons learned from MVP. This was followed by celebrating program accomplishments, conducting an assessment of how close the program was to achieve the desired state, then a retrospective on the MVP life-cycle to identify gaps and obtain leadership commitment. At the end of the session, we managed to recognize opportunities to institute change on a program level and identify broader enterprise-wide initiatives.

This enabled the team to prioritize areas of opportunity that would be most impactful to reach the desired state and shared vision. We were able to conclude with actionable takeaways.

The (4) most important steps to obtaining leadership alignment are below:

  1. Establish a shared vision. With a clear vision your team can work towards an actionable solution. Establishing a shared vision that is both concise and clear ensures that your team is reflecting on the vision (with the desired state in mind). Some guiding questions: Why do we exist? Where are we going? How will we get there? What principles guide our decisions? This allows your team to see the direction of the company, how their role fits in and how their actions contribute towards this shared vision.
  2. Conduct a gap analysis. A gap analysis allows you to assess where you are and where you want to be as an organization. By doing this analysis your organization can act accordingly to move towards its goal.
    • Assess the Current State: Allow your team to reflect on the strategic culture and operational alignment of the organization. Assessing the current state will allow you to gain insight on where the breakdowns exist. This can be done by administering stakeholder interviews/surveys. Here, you will be armed with information that will enable you to develop strategies to move the organization forward.
    • Define the Desired State: Defining the desired state and the culture needed to support is crucial. The big question is: Where are we going? Understanding this provides your team with the opportunity to improve and align organizational structures and processes to reinforce the desired culture.
    • Proposal/recommend solutions: Determine all possible solutions to bridge the gap and allow your team to be a part of this process. Remember - the degree that you allow your team to give their input is directly proportional to their acceptance of the solution once presented.
  3. Conclude with an actionable plan. Having a plan ensures your business goals and strategic initiatives are re-engineered into actionable behaviors. Provide ample instructions and have a timeline with your team's input integrated into the plan.
  4. Check-in: Scheduling periodic check-ins ensures that your team stays aligned. You may also create a buddy system by assigning accountability partners to hold each team member accountable for their actions. Provide constructive feedback and give positive reinforcement to reinforce positive behaviors.

At QualTransform, through our strategic consulting services our team will help align all the decision makers to develop actionable solutions that can be carried throughout the organization.

Contact us, to learn more.


Sources:

  • Erickson, C. (2013). "Cultural Transformation: Begin With the Desired State in Mind." Corporate Strategies by Skill Path
  • Gleeson, B. (2016). “6 Steps For Improving Leadership Alignment.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine
  • McGuiness, J. (2015). "Alignment is the Cornerstone of Great Leadership Teams" SmartCEO. Relationship Impact
QT Gap Analysis