Friday, April 13, 2012


At one company I worked with, a customer gave them the compliment that as a supplier they were "effortless". We decided that was a very good attribute to have. It means that doing business with you is easy and carefree. There's no hassles nor headaches. Life is just peachy in that part of the world in which this supplier operates.

Recently, I watched a team pull off a major event for their organization. Afterwards many described it as effortless and the best ever.

What made the difference in both cases was a high-performing, aligned and communicating team. Everyone knew what the goal was. Everyone knew their role and what success looked like in their functional area and as an organization. They knew how they contributed to it.

It wasn't effortless for the organization. It took care, respect and coordination. Someone in each organization was the hub for the event or the customer. This person had to communicate the vision and define what needed to be done and how others in the organization could fulfill the needs. Some had to be coaxed out of a comfort zone, or to do more than had been expected of them in past efforts. Personality conflicts had to be dissolved or sidelined. New skills had to be developed. But in each case alignment was the key.

There was one major goal for the company. There were objectives for each functional area, but not too many. Each objective was related to the major goal. Failure to accomplish the objective would mean expectations would not be met. This is the test of alignment. If you succeed at your objective and it doesn't improve the organization's results then you're not aligned. If you fail, and the organization still succeeds, then you're not in alignment. At best, you're irrelevant and inconsequential. At worst, you're a distraction and a hindrance to the organization's achievements.

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