Originally posted at www.thebusinessmediator.blogspot.com

The power of one: one voice, one direction, one result. I am speaking of the power of one team--aligned and guiding those around them swiftly, purposefully and cohesively. The results of sustained alignment are dramatic. How often have you seen teams performing at this highest level of alignment--not often I suspect. The reasons are varied: 1. No shared objectives; 2. Highly
political; 3. Low trust; 4. Inability to reach agreement; 5. Lack of leadership; 6. Lack of discipline. I could go on as to how misalignment happens on a team. Teams also do not want to invest the time it takes to ensure that they are on the same page, to clarify roles, to confirm decisions. However, it takes far more time if you do not invest the time up front to align these things. It goes back to one of my favorite sayings: "if you don't have the time to do it right the first time, you
don't have the time to do it over".

The concept of time is misunderstood. Many executives believe that they are acting too slowly when they have too many meetings. Consequently, they don't take the time to agree on objectives, actions and communications. However, the teams that fail to gain this upfront alignment may complete tasks, but they will not gain commitment or capture the hearts and minds of those in their organization in a predictable way. As a matter of fact, a regular meeting rhythm or cadence should take less than 10% of a team's time. This is because many of the unnecessary meetings we attend are the result of a lack of up front clarity.

How can a team or organization gain the alignment necessary to speed up its ability to achieve success? It is by means of a consistent and process-driven approach to alignment, and a commitment to stay aligned. The team must work to develop greater team function, it must agree on a compelling strategy that sets the direction for the future, and it must engage in disciplined thought and action to set in motion the strategy. Sound easy? It is a journey that requires commitment and vigilance. However, its impact is great: think of what you can achieve when you can leverage the power of an entire organization and perform consistently well.

Alignment is the key--it is the power of one.

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