Project Portfolio Management

How Do Leaders Create Alignment?

A Brief Story About Unexpected Failure

After providing what he believed to be a successful presentation to a potential client, Michael Hyatt was surprised to receive a memo from his boss’s boss challenging his alliances in the organization (if he really had his organization’s best interest in mind), and how he could offer such a poor financial arrangement between the company and the prospective client.

Hyatt was crushed, and rightfully so. To give a presentation that you believe was vetted and accepted by your company only to find out that it was in fact against the wishes of your organization is very hard to accept. However, it was also a learning moment for him. He understood that his boss’s boss failed to look at why he was upset with the presentation (that is, what he failed to do to create the alignment needed so the presentation would meet his own objectives).

Hyatt determined that there were three overarching components needed to achieve the alignment he had apparently not received. They are:

  1. Contact
  2. Communication
  3. Connection

Each Component Builds on the Other

Contact is simply spending time with your teams. Even in this, it’s possible to share overall goals and desires, allowing your team to have a rounded picture of what is required and what’s expected. Communication is exactly what you’d expect: accurately sharing your vision, your needs, and the direction you expect team members to be going. Finally, there is connection:

Communication is not even enough. For true alignment to take place, your people have to know and trust your heart. They have to be committed to your success and the success of the team. You may be tempted to think that you are entitled to this by virtue of employing them. You’re not. You can buy their presence, but you can’t buy their heart. You must earn it. You can only create a connection—and thus alignment—when you open your heart and let them in.

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