Alignment occurs when we come together to make a decision or plan that we are all committed to. This requires patience and engagement.
Yet too often I see lackluster follow through because those that must implement the plan are told what to do and not included in the decision making process.
I learned this lesson many years ago when I worked as chief of staff for a senior vice president, a major energy company. Back before cloud-based teaming tools were a thing, he had asked me to work with IT to create an intranet to help everyone understand what their coworkers were up to and collaborate online. I did a few interviews to find out what his staff wanted and worked with IT to build an intranet system that would fit the bill.
I then presented the solution to his team of forty technologists in an elaborate launch. The launch included a presentation, a Q&A, a video, and even a scavenger hunt to get everyone excited about the new platform. It started with a bang, but within a month of launch, NOT ONE person was using the intranet we had invested so much time and money into building. It felt like a colossal failure.
After a while I realized that I was not working collaboratively enough with my team for them to own the solution. While I had created something I was proud of, I had failed to deliver something that was actually useful.
Instead of getting stuck in blame, I swallowed my pride and started the project all over again.
This time I convened the user group six times over three months, designing the new system using Alignment practices. By breaking down the decision-making process into multiple steps we created the time and space to work co-creatively across multiple groups.
When the new system launched for the second time, it was virtually the same as the first but with one huge difference: everyone used it because EVERYONE created it.
This experience has stuck with me and informs how I approach everything. I have seen firsthand how iterative co-creation fosters relationships and exponentially expands the reach, impact and adoption of solutions created.
Including stakeholders in shaping solutions avoids the future destruction of your best ideas and increases engagement. Inviting your team to co-create with you breeds ownership and the more people are invested in decisions before they are finalized, the more traction you get.
Engaged stakeholders help you ditch bad ideas before they fail and are more likely to take action on the good ideas they helped inform.
When you work co-creatively with others, the path to alignment is never short or straight. Not everyone moves at the same speed, and people are seldom in the same place.
Keep in mind: Creativity is crushed when rushed.
So plan for engagement, you may not save time making the plan but the plans you make will be more solid and will stick.
Join me on my next webinar to explore how Alignment can increase engagement and transform your business or coaching practice.