Executive Alignment

Executive Alignment

The fortunes of an organization rise and fall on the effectiveness of its senior leadership as much as any other factor, especially in challenging times. The alignment, or misalignment, of the leadership team ripples through the organization, promoting significant productive, or destructive, behavior and outcomes.

Alignment does not refer to the procedure by which decisions are made which may be by consensus or majority vote, for example. Alignment refers to the degree to which the decision is owned once made. Some decisions are sabotaged by hallway conversations after a meeting. Some are complied with for fear of making waves or not being seen as a team player. But when a decision is owned, every executive when asked represents the decision as their own, even if it was not the course of action they preferred.

Our consulting interventions take a real-time approach. Meaning that we focus on what is happening in team interactions in the moment; when the team dynamic is moving the organization forward and when it is not. In this way the team strengthens its ability to intervene in its own dynamic when it is not being productive. Also, the team does not have its attention on what has happened in the past, which, while informative, is often a drain on energy when dwelt on.

We work both in team settings and with individual team members. We surface with individuals what is important but is also undiscussable in team discussions. It is often these "undiscussables" that shape how decisions are made, how sound they are, and how well they stick. We facilitate open discussion of what has not been openly discussed and by doing so improve the quality of decision-making and follow through.

Typically, the actions steps for an executive alignment engagement are:

  1. Work with the leader to understand the business context for having a stronger executive team (the costs of current behavior and the potential benefits of an aligned team)
  2. Interview individual team members to gain a firm picture of the current reality and critical gaps in team performance
  3. Interview a sample of employees below the executive team to gain an outside-in view of the executive team's performance
  4. Meet with the executive team in a day long co-design session in which our synthesis of the interviews is offered, key issues are put on the table for discussion, and the team aligns on what it must work on to be fully able to fulfill on the organization's business goals
  5. We continue to support the team in working towards important business goals as an aligned group, supporting the team and individuals through breakdowns, and developing the muscle of self-management so the team can continue to sustain alignment independent of consulting support


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