Seeking alignment is a critical skill for high impact managers and leaders. It is your secret weapon – the x-ray vision that will help you spot obstacles and find and leverage opportunities. And if you pay attention to building this muscle, you will eventually start doing this on autopilot.
Three Key Concepts to Seeking Alignment
- It’s about more than your individual efforts
- You’re part of a larger system – your organization!
- Use your imperatives (your must-do work) as a lens
How Alignment Helps You
Seeking alignment is your secret weapon to being more effective and efficient. When you seek alignment, you expand your circle of influence and increase your chances of success. Alignment helps you:
- Remove obstacles (or understand when an obstacle is an immovable object)
- Figure out where to get started
- Break down silos
- Model behavior, especially for your team!
Use this checklist to help you seek alignment. (A customizable copy of the checklist can be found here.) The checklist uses the Integrated Strategy for Success and Sustainability as a framework to understand your organization as a system.
The Integrated Strategy illustrates how the three key components of your organizational system align to make an impact:
- Identity: your organization’s focus; why you exist
- Constituents: the people who care enough about your organization to act on its behalf
- Capacity: the staffing, systems, and infrastructure that support your work and your business model
Below is a sample of the questions we use most often to understand alignment. Use these as a starting point—then customize to best meet your needs.
- How does making progress on your imperative impact other programs, departments, or functions (fundraising, outreach, IT, etc.)?
- What duplication exists and how can you be more efficient?
Review your works and identify specific alignments that will support your success
Try this out and let us know how it goes! Share your lessons learned with the Learning Network.