In management, we often encounter situations where projects or decisions create alignment challenges within an organization. The default reaction might address these issues in isolation, focusing on the alignment problem without considering the broader impact on ongoing activities. While conventional approaches, such as hosting discussions to rectify misalignments, can be practical, they often require considerable trust among participants. They can be time-consuming, especially when working with busy executives or managers.
An alternative method to foster alignment is transparently exposing the activities affected by potential misalignments. This approach can be somewhat uncomfortable, as it might invite tension or disagreements to the forefront. However, it shifts the focus from potential theoretical alignment to actual misalignments in practice. When you lay bare the progress of a specific activity and plan the next steps, you set the stage for movement and progress. This tactic can compel parties out of sync to engage in necessary discussions as the organization progresses.
As leaders, it's crucial to recognize when to create opportunities for such essential conversations. We have an opportunity to avoid hiding behind meetings and discussions when direct action or confrontation might yield more effective results. Of course, results may vary, and as leaders, our expectations should not be rigidly tied to specific outcomes. It's possible that this process achieves alignment in ways that differ from our initial direction. This flexibility is vital, and part of our role involves communicating any new decisions or changes in direction to all involved parties, ensuring a cohesive and informed team environment. Suppose we are mindful of attaching ourselves to one outcome or another. In that case, we reduce the impact of a potential emotional reaction on our part, allowing us to focus on the most important fact that we are moving forward.
This approach to managing alignment challenges is about embracing them as opportunities for growth and collaboration. It encourages us to act decisively, recognizing our immediate responsibilities and goals while being open to the idea that the best course of action might differ from what was initially planned. By fostering this alignment, we build consensus on what is and is not a priority, leading to a more cohesive and effective organizational strategy.