Before we can think about creating it, we should spend a moment or two making sure we know what it is. My favorite definitions are: A position of agreement or common understanding; Consistency across or a coming together of different ideas; An arrangement of groups in relation to each other.
In simple terms; misalignment CAUSES stress while alignment REDUCES it.
Step 1: Be Authentic
Alignment among groups and organizations is not about how well people can pretend. It is about truly connecting an internal belief that you value with an one shared by the organization. It is about finding common ground, not compromising it.
In business, leadership, sales, and any other personal relationship; alignment is a constant state of fluidity being reinforced and destroyed with every single action by all involved. Being natural and authentic is the easiest way to offer personal consistency. It is what you live outside of the ‘9-5’ that matters more than what you do and say at work.
Step 1.5: Have A Core Purpose.
This applies equally to individuals and organizations. You cannot have alignment if at least one party is unsure of the things that matter to them. Invest the time to put it into words – however rough or awkward they may sound.
A core purpose helps filter and unify the skills and contributions of people by providing a framework of what is to happen. Functions and tasks of the job easily become ways each of us go about fulfilling or living the organization’s core purpose.
Profit and money are not your purpose. Period. They are poor approximations of value, connection, and trust.
Step 1.75: Share It With Others.
It is pointless to have a purpose if it doesn’t excite you to the point of nearly bursting at the seams to share it with others! So start sharing it already.
Know that sharing your purpose is an open-ended invitation for others to critique it as well as tell you theirs. That is the beauty of it all though. Through these exchanges, we constantly update and refine our purposes while we are exposed to new ideas. You will undoubtedly want to add some aspects you hear from someone else.
Step 2: Repeat.
State your purpose and values three times daily for 60 days, then twice daily for another 60, followed by the first thing in morning for another 60. This repetition not only helps you refine your purpose, it is crucial to being an authentic reflection of who you are and what you believe.
Just as you start to get bored with it, you’ll get find yourself in a situation that challenges you – either reinforcing or shifting your values.
I had a client ask if I was interested in a project that would put a great deal of money in my pocket and increase my status in an industry. It was perfectly legal, but didn’t align with my purpose. When I gave my reasons for respectfully declining, I was instantly applauded for the display of integrity. We both still have great respect for each other though we haven’t done business together in over a decade.
In case you are interested: My purpose is to engage people, create value, and grow businesses. It has been an exciting 20 year work-in-progress and I anticipate another 20 years of the same pleasure.
Do you want help discovering your organization’s core purpose? Connect with me here and I will be happy to discretely offer my assistance.