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Executive Alignment: What, Why, and How

No matter what industry you’re in, a lack of alignment in a company’s senior leadership is a recipe for disaster. It makes employees feel disconnected from the mission and vision, and there is no clear vision or direction to look to for attaining the goals and overall purpose of the business. A company’s alignment at the executive level ties directly into that business’s results and overall growth – it can make or break your success from the inside out.

According to IBM founder Thomas Watson Jr., any organization must maintain “a sound set of beliefs upon which it premises all its policies and actions” in order for it to survive and thrive. It’s no surprise that one of the most important factors in attaining corporate victory is to adhere to those beliefs. Who else is in a more critical position to espouse those beliefs than senior company leaders?

The danger, however, is that many management teams fall short of consistently acting in such a uniformed front, acting instead as faction committees with their respective self-interests and motives. This is yet another compelling reason to come together, align or realign, and then build a genuine foundation for a common strategy – then making the necessary efforts to uphold it.

Executive alignment can be achieved in various ways. One way is to establish alignment on the “why” of the organization, or why the business exists in the first place. This will serve as a way to build and protect a good organizational culture. It’s just as important to define the culture necessary to support the “why,” where leaders must create experiences, practices, and policies that enforce cultural values and beliefs.

Promoting accountability is another key ingredient of executive alignment. It’s vital to articulate who is accountable and responsible for all initiatives and to ensure that someone “owns” specific business outcomes and remains accountable for them. A good rhythm of meetings and a steady stream of communication will help keep you and your team aligned with executive management for continued success and incredibly rewarding results for your workforce and company alike.

For more information on how to maximize the success of your company, take a look at our message on How Recognition Helps Your Organization.