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  • Writer's picturePatty Beach

Boost Innovation with Alignment Experiments

In most companies there is an unsaid belief among employees that it is just too ‘dangerous’ to speak out and offer opinions on how the company is run. In a corporate environment it can be risky to give every employee a voice, let alone a vote on how things are done. Wouldn’t that just create chaos and complexity?

Actually, not really if you’ve mastered the Art of Alignment. Here’s a true story of one leader that has.

At our last monthly gathering of Alignment Practitioners, Dean Hiller, known as the technologist with a heart of gold, shared how he introduced alignment practices as the new CTO of a tech company.

Dean is a visionary leader that believes in engaging all employees in bringing fresh ideas to the table, and empowering them to take the best ideas and run with them. One of his first moves was to create a shared doc called the experiments list and invite everyone to add any idea that they believed might improve products, services, processes, and company culture. He then set up a weekly open yet optional meeting to review the list using alignment techniques. The ideas that gained the most backing of those assembled were then given the go ahead or floated up the chain of command to get sponsorship.

This simple approach to introducing Alignment unleashed leadership at every level and helped the Senior Leadership embrace the power of employee engagement.

He states; “One of the hardest things as humans is we see decisions as the end. We decided this, we are doing this. But every decision is actually an experiment. This approach allows me to introduce concepts like The Art of Alignment in a way that is not forceful, this is just an experiment, I just want you to try this.”

Despite resistance to change and a tight hold on the traditional top down structure, who could deny the value of creating an experiments lab where the best ideas could be vetted and tested.

Encouraging experiments creates psychological safety, the pressure is off. Ideas can succeed or fail, safely. Changes are consistent, measured, and adopted without any need for a huge change initiative. When the principles and practices of alignment support experimentation, everyone relaxes and engages in the process.

This approach leads to a self-aligning organization, one where people opt in. Employees get fired up knowing they can contribute and shape their workplace. A culture of experimentation allows for innovation, co-creation and collaboration in a deeply rooted way.

Retention goes up when employees feel the SHUVA (seen, heard, understood, valued, and appreciated) of becoming true stakeholders of the company’s mission. SHUVA culture is attractive for young professionals that have zero tolerance of the old ways of working that do not honor all or address concerns in a compassionate way.

How can you bring in a culture of SHUVA and experimentation to your teams?

It’s not that hard, just lean into the 3 Principles, 4 Steps and 5Cs of Alignment to zero in on a few experiments.

If you are a leader eager to steer your company in the direction of alignment and inclusivity, we are here to help. To learn more, come to our next free webinar or sign up for a free call to discuss.


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