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rowing rew red circleThe classic illustration of alignment is the rowing crew.

But imagine an eight-person boat with only seven rowers.

Or worse yet, imagine that one of the rowers is rowing in the opposite direction.

Misaligned crews lose the race. Misaligned companies lose millions.

In the last article, we explored the many aspects of misalignment, but how much does that misalignment cost your company?

Fortunately, you can calculate the cost of misalignment.

Let’s say your company has 1,000 employees, and your Corporate Alignment Percentage is 80 percent.

That means that 20 percent of your employees’ time and energy is wasted … which is the equivalent of 200 people lost.

You are paying for 1,000 people, but only getting the energy of 800. If your average loaded cost per person is $100,000 per year, that is the equivalent of $20 million dollars!

Now, you should do your own math.

What is your total payroll? What is your Corporate Alignment Percentage (CAP)?

How much is misalignment costing your company? Conversely, how much value can your company recapture by improving alignment?

Perhaps an illustration will help you understand the benefits of improving alignment.

A few years ago, I owned a twin turbocharged BMW.

In case you don’t have a degree in automotive engineering, let me explain how a turbocharger works.

In a normal engine, gasoline is mixed with air and is then ignited by the spark plug to produce power. This process is not 100 percent efficient, so hot gases flow out the exhaust pipes into the environment.

A turbocharger is a small device that looks like a fan. It “recycles” the hot exhaust gases and forces them back into the engine. It converts the energy that would otherwise have been wasted into additional horsepower.

Alignment is the turbocharger of organizational performance.

The Drive One Direction process “recycles” the energy that is wasted by misalignment and turns it into additional people power.

This enables you to zoom past your competition!

My assertion is that improving alignment is likely the highest ROI activity you have.



How Do You Measure Alignment?A few months ago, I went to the car dealer for maintenance. As I entered the service bay, I drove over a special sensor on the ground that measured my alignment in real-time.

I was dismayed to learn that my car was out of alignment.

That’s right, the guy who was writing a book about alignment called Drive One Direction was driving a car that was out of alignment.

Imagine my shame!

I did some research and discovered that the system was made by Hunter Engineering Company in Bridgeton, Missouri ( Here is what I learned:

“Hunter’s patented alignment check system is the quickest way to measure alignment angles that affect tire life. The test takes less than a minute to produce total toe and camber measurements for both axles. Results are displayed in easy-to-understand, color-coded graphics.”

Ever since that experience, I wanted to create a radically simple way for companies to measure their alignment.

During my CEO interviews, I always asked them about the importance of alignment.

“Alignment is mission-critical,” was the Number One answer.

Then, I would ask them about the old adage, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

Every CEO gave me the same answer, “I totally agree with that!”

Then, I would go on to say, “So, you told me that alignment was mission critical … and if you can’t measure something you can’t manage it.”

“That’s right!”

“So, how do you measure alignment?” 

At this point, there would be a long and awkward pause …

Measuring alignment is a complicated problem. We are still working on solving it. However, to get things started, we developed a simple One Question survey:

On a scale of one to ten, rate your company’s current level of strategic alignment.

  • 10 = We are like a perfectly synchronized rowing crew.
  • 1 = We are like a group of warring tribes. Civil war about to break out.

Go ahead … answer the question for your company … what’s your number? That is your Corporate Alignment Percentage™ (CAP). The survey is still under development. Who knows, perhaps it will become the Net Promoter® of alignment.

Regardless, we believe it is essential for your company to develop a way to measure alignment. There are three primary reasons.

First, strategic alignment is mission-critical. You simply cannot succeed without it. Second, strategic alignment is a leading indicator. Third, strategic alignment is EveryOne’s business. Thus, EveryOne can improve the metric.

So, how does your company measure alignment?

At SHIFTPOINTS, our mission is to help companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment. Our Acceleration IndexTM is a proprietary survey designed to assess strategic alignment. Visit to learn more! 


Misalignment: The Root Cause of Organizational Dysfunction

PotholesI believe that the root cause of virtually every organizational problem is misalignment.

Why do I believe that? Let me count the ways!

When your market vision is misaligned, you miss growth opportunities.

When your business model is misaligned, you lose money. 

When your human resources strategy is misaligned, you hire the wrong people.

When your product development team is misaligned, you build the wrong product.

When your operating model is misaligned, people spend endless hours in internal coordination meetings.

When your mission-critical processes are misaligned, you miss your deadlines and irritate your customers.

When your management system is misaligned, decisions are frequently overturned.

When marketing and sales are misaligned, you miss your revenue targets.

When management and labor are misaligned, workers go on strike.

When the board and the CEO are misaligned, the CEO gets fired.

I could go on, but you get the point: misalignment is the root of virtually every organizational dysfunction.

We also see misalignment as the root cause of most interpersonal conflicts.

For example, recently I was coaching an executive who was struggling to meet his numbers. I asked him, “Why are you missing your numbers?”

He gave me an explanation that seemed plausible, but then I asked, “Would your boss agree with that explanation?”

“Probably not.”

Given that the executive and his boss were not aligned on the root cause of the problem, there was little chance that they would agree on the executive’s proposed solution.

In another session, a different executive was recounting her accomplishments. Again, I asked the question, “Would your boss agree with that list?”

“Probably not.”

In both cases, the executives and their bosses were misaligned.

Alignment is both a strategic corporate issue and a tactical interpersonal one.

That is why improving alignment is Job One!