Alignment vs. Agreement

Screenshot 2023-10-15 at 7.24.03 PM

Ever have one of those days when you get out of bed and your back is killing you? And then the domino effect happens: Lack of alignment in your back makes you hunch over; it can cause some of your extremities to “fall asleep”; and you moan and groan … a lot! 

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about the genesis of an individual’s vision, and the importance of sharing that vision with others … especially when the individual seeks to make a difference in the world around them. Sharing is one thing; gaining alignment from those who you want/need in your corner is the next critical milestone. 

Interestingly, many people confuse alignment with agreement. They are not one in the same. 

  • Alignment can be at the 10,000-foot view, while agreement is on the ground floor: A team can align on the need to increase employee engagement, but not agree on the way to accomplish it because each has a different idea. 
  • The assumption that alignment occurs by simply sharing a vision is often a recipe for disaster: People can agree on tactical specifics of an action plan but have different perspectives on what those actions will accomplish. The outcome then loses its impact on the greater organization and/or confuses the heck out of everyone as to why the actions even took place! 

It’s ironic – a person can create a vision that is in alignment with their own (fill in the blanks) … brand, values, priorities, desires, etc.; however, that vision will not evolve into a movement – something greater than that individual – without alignment from others. 

Alignment is a word my clients hear a lot from me. I ask questions about how their goals align with the way they want to demonstrate their leadership. I ask how they know, really know, that others are aligned around their vision. 

The need to proactively state the desire for alignment is paramount, and then it must be followed by genuinely requesting feedback and ideas. The conversation must be a meaningful dialogue that inspires and engages others. 

As James Collins says, “Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.” 

This Week: Where are you out of alignment or where are you assuming alignment is present for the vision or ideas you want others to support? If alignment does not exist, have an intentional conversation with each person who you want to impact and/or from whom you need support. What changes after that conversation? 

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  1. Doug Brady on October 17, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    Very good Boo
    There certainly is a difference between alignment and agreement. Well said.

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