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Alignment In Business

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I don’t want a balanced life. I want alignment.

You want the wheels on your car aligned. When the wheels are out of alignment, the ride is uncomfortable, the wear on tires and other parts goes up, and the vehicle works less efficiently. When the wheels are critically out of alignment the ride is unbearable, and your safety is at risk.

When things that matter, in your business and your life, are not in alignment:

  • there is conflict and discomfort;
  • you, or your business, use more energy than you need to, and risk grinding to a halt;
  • the moving parts of your life and your organization are at risk.

When the important things are in alignment in business, you move smoothly, efficiently, and sustainably.

Two layers have to line up to benefit from that kind of effectiveness:

  • The fundamentals: your values and your vision. Your financial resources, human resources, brand, and operations all have to line up behind your vision and your values.
  • The details. The more you can make every part of everything you do reinforce the direction and momentum of every other part, the more successful you will be.

Success Is Alignment

The more I think about this perspective the more I am convinced it is the most useful way to define success.

I am happy when my vision lines up with what actually happens. When our hopes, faith, desires, wishes and needs are met or exceeded, we are happy. Buddhism has a valuable perspective: when seeking that alignment, instead of only focussing on the “what happens” part, also focus on the “what I expect” part.

We have greater control over our expectations than over what happens.

On the business level, the alignment is a very useful way to measure success.

Also read Value Alignment Feeds Momentum

Failure is Business Out of Alignment

Failure is a critical lack of alignment in business. History, habits, resources, skills, or values are not in alignment with what is wanted. On the detail levels, things like the treatment of employees is not aligned with the organization's expectations for those same employees; investments in resources are not aligned with stated goals; the values and spirit of an organization slide out of alignment with their customers.

Alignment Gets You There

We often say that success in business is about focus. That is true, if by focus you mean keeping your eye on an ultimate objective at all times. It fixes the target. Alignment describes the steps you take to get there: it ensures that everything that is required to get there contributes effectively to the effort. Alignment exists when every moving part reinforces the efforts of every other moving part.

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