One of the most important components of successful change management is executive alignment. Whether your organization is undergoing a major culture transformation, kicking off a strategic initiative, or involved in a merger or acquisition, having leadership aligned during times of change is critical to your success. So, if you feel your organization is lacking executive alignment, it is important to know the potential effects it may be having on your business so you can take swift action to remedy it:
Corporate Culture Suffers
When alignment among leadership is lacking, there will also be a lack of clarity that will have a negative impact on the company’s culture. When people are left confused or frustrated for too long as a result of misaligned leadership, everyday conversations at the water cooler may quickly turn distracting or destructive to your company’s culture.
The best way to put a stop to this and take steps to repair the culture, is to have leaders collectively wrestle through the tough issues of mission, values, and strategy, and then effectively cascade that clarity throughout the organization. This will provide your organization with a common language, and an agreement on what to do in order to hold each other accountable to the desired culture. Providing this high-quality information will prevent individuals from filling in the blanks themselves with a negative picture of reality.
Leaders and Their Employees Are Uncertain of Expectations
Clarity and alignment begin at the top, and must trickle down to the people leaders and eventually to the individual contributors. If this does not happen, leaders are left on their own to make decisions with the information they have available to them. While they will try to direct their team and individuals, using this information to the best of their ability, neither party can be certain of the right decisions. Unsurprisingly, this leads to mixed messaging, with both employees and leaders getting confused and frustrated about what they are working toward. To overcome this and get change initiatives back on track for success, executive alignment must be achieved.
Your Organization’s Purpose Is Unclear or Undefined
When an organization’s purpose is lived authentically, it will act as a guiding compass for employees and leaders, ultimately dictating the right path forward. If there is no executive alignment on it, the purpose of the organization will be unclear to everyone. This leaves priorities open to interpretation from various vantage points depending on role, level, or department. When this happens, an organization where teams or departments are moving in every direction, rather than in the same direction toward a common goal. All too often this leads to decreased engagement, increased frustration, and a lack of momentum.
Inconsistent and Irregular Communication Causes Confusion
If the communication coming from decision-makers at the top is not open, transparent, and consistent, it may be a sign that there is a problem with executive alignment somewhere in the organization. When leaders are uncertain of the strategic direction, or not aligned with their fellow leaders, this can lead to inconsistent and irregular communication that contributes to the challenges mentioned above. The workforce relies on the communication they receive from the top to make decisions, and to know that what they are doing is in line with the rest of the organization and the change they are aiming to achieve. If this communication changes drastically based on who it is coming from and when, alignment and clarity must be improved.
Next Steps To Achieving Executive Alignment
Executive alignment is always important to organizational growth, but never is this more apparent than during times of major change – which, in today’s world, is more frequent than ever. If executives are aligned on organizational objectives and are committed to a strategy for the change, it will help bring the entire organization onboard. It will help support a corporate culture that promotes accountability and momentum, create clarity around expectations and the organization’s overall purpose, and help ensure that communication is consistent, transparent, and supports the desired outcomes.