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04-19-18

ONE WORD - ALIGNMENT

a·lign·ment

One word.  Three syllables.  Thousands of applications.

But, what does alignment actually mean? 

The etymology origin of “align” is French.  Webster’s says the first known use of the word was in 1693.  Some of the common uses include: 

  • to arrange things or people in a straight line.
  • to bring things or people into alignment.
  • to bring people into agreement with a particular group, party, cause, etc.
  • to bring things into a proper coordination (such as the wheels of a car).

Align is a verb.  Aligned is a past participle.  Aligning is a gerund.  Alignment is a noun.

Okay, enough of that. 

What does it mean for your company?

If your company is a global conglomerate, alignment means one thing. If your company is a dance company, alignment means a totally different thing.

In addition, our review of the research articles about alignment confirmed that even the scholars don’t have a common definition of alignment.

There are multiple reasons for this.

First, every company is radically different.  Synagogues are radically different from symphonies.  The United Auto Workers is radically different from the United Nations.  3M and IBM have one letter in common … and that’s about it.

Second, companies are in different life stages.  (See the chapter entitled One Life Stage.)  Startups are worried about survival, and spinouts are worried about cutting the corporate umbilical cord.

Third, companies have different operating models and management philosophies. (See the chapter entitled One Model.) Some companies run like denominations, and some churches run like corporations. 

Thus, every company is different, and you must define alignment in your unique One-of-a-Kind Way. 

After all, how can everyone Drive in One Direction if you don’t show them the way?

ACTION POINT:

One Way to get started is to take the One Definition challenge.

Ask a group of people to write a basic definition of the word “alignment.” Share the results around the table. Then, ask them to modify that definition as follows, “What does alignment mean for our company?”

04-04-18

A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING

This past weekend, millions of people around the world celebrated Easter.  They went to church to worship Jesus and pledged their allegiance as followers. 

To millions, He is a leader worth following.

So, how about you?  Are you a leader worth following?

Leaders, by definition, have followers.  The question for you to consider is why they are following.

Are they following because they have to?  After all, you’re the boss. 

Or, are they following because they want to?  Because they believe in you and your vision.  Because they believe that your strategy is the right one.  Because they believe that you know the way.

So, perhaps it is time for you to take a long, hard look in the mirror.  Ask yourself, “Am I a leader worth following?”

I’m sorry to say that many leaders—if they are honest with themselves—should conclude that the answer to that question is, “No.”

SHIFTPOINTS has worked with almost one hundred companies and thousands of leaders.  I’m sorry to say that we have seen many toxic leaders.  I’m also distraught that many toxic leaders have risen to the highest levels of government, industry, and even churches.

These toxic leaders would dramatically improve performance and morale if they simply resigned. 

Conversely, we have also worked with many exceptional leaders who are, in fact, leaders worth following. 

Leaders worth following are servant leaders.  They lead with humility and inspire followership. 

And the best leaders—just like Jesus—build high-performance leadership teams.

Most people know that Jesus had twelve disciples.  They were a most unusual bunch, perhaps the most unlikely leadership team ever assembled.  None of these guys would have ever passed the initial resume screening of an executive search firm.

Leadership experience… nope.  Advanced degrees… nope.  Professional certifications… nope.

Yet Jesus chose these ordinary guys anyway.  He transformed them into an extraordinary leadership team. And then He left.

They went on to change the world.  All but one gave their life for the cause.  By almost any measure, you can argue that they were indeed the world’s greatest leadership team.

SHIFTPOINTS develops high-performance executive teams – because you can’t win without one.