Achieving organizational alignment towards achievement of the vision starts with one person…YOU! It is your job to communicate a clear vision, and to inspire your team to accomplish the goals and objectives required to achieve the vision. The driving force behind your shared vision is your purpose. When your employees know and understand the “why”, they will be more motivated to focus on the “how”. Especially, when your employees can “connect” how your “why” helps each employee accomplish their own personal goals and ambitions.
Starting with You
When you have a particular challenge to overcome, or let’s say a “hill to charge”, when you shout CHARGE, you want your team to already be charging that hill. You want them to feel inspired by you and motivated to achieve organizational goals. If you shout CHARGE, and your team is behind you instead of in front, or even worse, deserting your ranks, you are not an effective leader. In fact, you may perish as the result of “friendly fire”.
The key to your leadership success, and alignment of your team to achieve great things, is how they perceive you as a leader. I call this this your level of “Leadership Credibility”. Does your team trust you and feel you are honest? Do they feel respected by you? Do they feel that you are competent and can help them solve problems? Do they feel that you are inspiring and forward looking? Do they feel that you “have their back”? If so, your team will charge the hill for you and will share your vision of success.
Connecting the “Why” with “WIIFM”
To achieve organizational alignment towards a shared vision, it is imperative that you be able to connect “Why” achievement of the vision is business critical to “What’s In It For Me” or (WIIFM). In other words, if I help you achieve your business goals and ultimately the organizational vision, how will I benefit? Organizations often fail to achieve great things because they have failed to help their employees understand how their efforts can result in individual goal accomplishment and success. We just assume that employees will make that connection, when we should be working hard to translate organizational success to individual success. Your goal, as a leader, is to ingrain the mindset in your team that you are all in this together. You succeed together or fail together, but regardless…you are together, aligned, and focused for success. The minute your team feels that it is “Us versus Them”, you are doomed to fail as a leader unless you can change that mindset.
Once your team connects the “Why” with “WIIFM”, your goal is to help them understand how their individual and team roles impact success. You do this by developing strategies that translate easily into team and individual performance goals, or the “How”. Then you make sure your performance management and rewards and recognition processes support positive behaviors and performance while discouraging undesirable behaviors and performance.
Achieving alignment towards a shared vision and goals takes time, patience, and perseverance, but foremost it takes effective leadership.