Get Your People Aligned!

We’ve been developing your organization’s strategy and now we need to get your people on the same page.  It’s called strategic alignment.

An essential part of success in any activity involving more than one person is clarity regarding objectives, and understanding of each person’s role.  People centered organizations know that performance is personal before it is organizational.  Getting your people aligned is the process of making your strategy and plans personal for everyone in your organization, no matter how large or small that organization is.

So how do you do that?  Use the expectations approach to eliminate assumptions and ambiguity.  Here are the key success factors:

  • Communicate openly with your people.
  • Involve them in development of the strategy.
  • Tell them what you expect of them and what resources you will make available.
  • Ask them what they expect of you and of each other.
  • Gain agreement on those expectations.
  • Jointly decide the success objectives for each expectation (deliverables, timing, and budget).
  • Jointly define rewards and consequences.
  • Delegate responsibility, authority, and accountability.
  • Hold each other accountable.
  • Communicate and celebrate results.

If your people know what is expected of them, and if you do everything in your power to clear away obstacles to their success, you enable them to perform up to their full potential.

What I’ve described sounds simple; in fact, I consider it one of those better business basics, and a matter of common business sense.  But it gets complex because of the amount of information involved.  In effect, you’re going way beyond the classic job description or position profile, and writing a detailed performance contract between each pair of people who need to establish and maintain a productive working relationship.  That includes superiors and subordinates, team mates and, in many cases your people and their clients, customers, and vendors.  The more complex the relationship, the more important each set of expectations becomes.

On the positive side though is that when these performance contracts are established and maintained, when they become a part of each person’s normal work routine, they become a great tracking tool.  They are the source of task lists, tickler files, and performance appraisals.  They are the tools for recruiting and hiring people who are a good match for your organization.  They are the supporting documentation for incentive pay programs and improved position profiles.  They are the fuel that sustains effective processes.  They become essential to the success of critical strategic and tactical change initiatives.

When employed during the development and implementation of your business plan, long range plan, and annual operating plans, the expectations approach helps you build a people centered, servant led, purpose driven organization.  For more on this approach to successful change, visit and contact