Alignment Starts at the Top
When teams are aligned to the mission and to the goals, it’s much easier to achieve success. Not easy, but easier. We see sports teams made up of top players not play to their potential. We see it every weekend. Yet why do we see some teams, often without the all-star talent, surpass their potential time after time? Maybe it’s a better playbook or maybe the winners are all reading from the same playbook. When I dive deeper with these folks, I don’t see silos, or individuals marching to their own beat. I see folks who are engaged, they are aligned in their goals and objectives, and they trust and support one another.
Let’s not kid ourselves though. Those that tend to surpass their potential don’t always win, and every day isn’t always great. But because of their alignment and their trust in one another, they rise not only to play again, but to play at the top of their game.
So, what is alignment and why should it start at the top? Over my many years of coaching youth sports, the annual ritual was to get a group of kids from different backgrounds, with different skill levels and motivation to work together to achieve a common goal. That goal was to learn how to work together, to trust, to gain confidence, and develop each kid's full potential. Along the way it was also nice to win some games – but in this case, that was not the sole objective. Oh, and one other goal we had for each game was to have fun.
So back to alignment. Not to simplify this, but is what we just described similar to what leaders must do at work?
“Get a group of kids from different backgrounds, and different skill levels and motivation to work together to achieve a common goal.”
Replace kids with adult staff and I see many similarities. Coaching a team and running a business have so many things in common. Listen to how Nick Saban, the Alabama coach talks about building a winning culture on his football teams, about overcoming obstacles, and developing young adults. You can take that talk track and overlay it onto a business. My guess is if you are not aligned and reading from the same playbook, you probably won’t last long on one of his teams. Why should your team, or company be any different?
As business leaders, one of your most important jobs is to articulate the vision, the mission, and where the company is going. You have a responsibility to have a staff that believes in the mission and can work together to achieve their potential. Departmental gaps and tolerating those who march to their own beat make it very difficult for a company to achieve greatness.
Regardless of where the individual is on the organization chart, from the lowest paid to the highest paid, alignment is critical for long term success. These are ideas for making your business even better. If you have ideas or comments on the subject, please include them below. Good luck and remember, doing nothing certainly is an option, just not a great one!
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at email@example.com.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.