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A lot has been written about teamwork.

Teamwork is the foundation of alignment.

But many people have never been on a high-performance team, thus they do not have a real framework or experience base to work from. They don’t really know what “team” means.

In addition, there are many kinds of teams:

A crew team is a homogeneous group. Each member has a virtually identical build and an identical skill-set. There is only One Team, and they must work in perfect harmony in order to win. They are all—quite literally—in the same boat!

A golf team is a loose collection of individuals, all playing their own games. The team wins if enough people win their individual matches. However, it is possible for an individual player to win the individual trophy, yet have their team lose the match.

An improvisational jazz band is a different kind of team altogether. There is no conductor, no playbook, no scoreboard, no trophy, no match to win or lose, and no coxswain to keep everyone synchronized. Yet, the musicians demonstrate amazing teamwork.

A football team is a highly interdependent group of diverse players. Each player has very specialized skills. While there are sub-teams—offense, defense, and special teams—there is only one winner at end of the game. They win or lose as a team.

In 2015, retired General Stanley McChrystal discussed the complexity of sub-teams in his book, Team of Teams. In many companies, the real issue is that people are aligned with their “sub-team” but are not aligned with the other teams or with corporate.

  • The Boston office is tight, but they don’t get along with the New York office.
  • The marketing team is tight, but they don’t get along with sales.
  • The corporate finance team is tight, but they don’t get along with the divisions.
  • The European team is tight, but they don’t get along with the Americans.
  • The Democrats are tight, but they don’t get along with the Republicans.

People tend to get along with their immediate group. Their function. Their local office. Their clan. Their tribe. But they fight with people who are not part of their group.

So, as you embark on the journey to improve alignment, perhaps you should start by answering One Simple Question, “What does ‘team’ mean?”

Learn more about creating One Team



LinkedIn-Post_WhichfactorCompanies operate in many ways. Some are highly centralized, others are highly decentralized.

Your corporate operating model is a key factor in deciding how to create alignment.

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive but can help you articulate your operating model.

The “One Business” Company

  • Company competes primarily in One Market
  • Most likely, the company is organized functionally (sales, marketing, manufacturing, etc.)
  • Most likely, there is One P&L

The Highly Centralized Corporation

  • Big, strong corporate headquarters
  • Most of the big decisions are made at corporate
  • Divisions are partially autonomous
  • Alignment is primarily created “top-down” by corporate

The Multidivisional Corporation

  • Strong corporate headquarters and strong divisions
  • Division leaders are General Managers
  • An even balance of power between corporate and divisions
  • Cross-divisional alignment is created by corporate

The Federation

  • Moderately strong corporate headquarters
  • Autonomous divisions, often led by Presidents
  • Only a small amount of “top-down” corporate-level alignment
  • Alignment is primarily created at the divisional level
  • Small focus on cross-divisional alignment

The Conglomeration – A Company of Companies

  • Small corporate headquarters
  • Company Presidents are highly autonomous
  • Alignment is primarily created at the operating company level
  • Little or no focus on cross-company alignment

The Association

  • Corporate has very little power
  • Members choose to affiliate—or not
  • Members pay to be a part of the association
  • Corporate has limited decision authority, and primarily exists to serve the members
  • Alignment is often around a common agenda

The Denomination

  • Many different operating models
  • Some have very strong corporate-driven alignment … others have very little
  • Always bound together by One Doctrine and/or One Tradition

The Abomination

  • If your company is in this category, you definitely need my upcoming book, Drive One Direction!

What is your company’s operating model?

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment, because Alignment is the ultimate competitive advantage™.  Contact us at or


3 Primary Factors Which Impact Alignment

LinkedIn-Post_WhichfactorI strongly believe that alignment is Job One.

But every company must create alignment in a unique, One-of-a-Kind Way.

Three primary factors impact your company’s approach to creating alignment.

The first factor is your company’s life stage. Startups are worried about survival, and spinouts are focused on cutting the corporate umbilical cord. 

The second factor is your company’s operating model. Some companies run like denominations, and some churches run like corporations.

The third factor is your company’s business philosophy. Often, this is reflected in how many One and Only One corporate standards you use.

When you combine these three factors, the result is thousands of unique permutations.

However, regardless of your company’s unique situation, alignment is mission-critical.

Our goal was to develop One Methodology that would work for every company, regardless of life stage, operating model, or business philosophy.

This led us to develop the Drive One Direction methodology.

We believe that every company, regardless of life stage, operating model, or business philosophy, can—and should— apply the Drive One Direction methodology. However, every company should do so in a unique, One-of-a-Kind Way.

For example, every company has a brand. Your job is to create a unique, One-of-a-Kind corporate brand.

Every company has a culture. You must create a unique, One-of-a-Kind corporate culture.

Developing a One-of-a-Kind Way of creating alignment will differentiate you from your competitors. It will allow you to create a unique One-of-a-Kind Company.

Some of the exemplar companies, such as Amazon, use the term “DNA” to articulate their unique approach to creating alignment. We like that, since your DNA both identifies who you are and differentiates you from everyone else.

Alignment is Job One, but every company must create it in a unique, One-of-a-Kind Way.

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment, because Alignment is the ultimate competitive advantage™.  Contact us at or