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Is Your Senior Leadership Team Really Aligned?

August 11, 2021

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Gavin (not his real name) is a CEO who believed his senior leadership team (SLT) was aligned and wondered why it didn’t translate to whole of business alignment.

I asked him how he knew that.

He said “We aren’t hitting some of our KPI’s.  I don’t feel we are performing or producing as well as we could.  I’m noticing morale isn’t what it could be”

I asked ”How do you know that your SLT is aligned?”

Gavin said “Everyone knows our vision. Our meetings are run well.  We have a well-designed agenda, and we always end up agreeing what to do next.”

I asked permission to test the alleged alignment. 

Gavin agreed.

At the next SLT session I asked them five questions to answer privately.

The first question was: “What is the primary goal of the business in the next 90 days?”

They weren’t all aligned on that.

The second question was: “Rate the level of trust you believe exists within this team, as a composite result. Not between individuals but as an overall number.”

The highest number was 7 out of 10.  The average score was 5.5.

I then asked them the other three questions.

Their answers weren’t all aligned on any of the questions.

I asked them ”Given these results, how aligned are you really?

The silence was deafening.

Then I asked: “What do you think the ripple effect is on the business, in terms of performance, productivity, wastage and morale?”

Again, silence.

60 days later the business was hitting their KPI’s.  Performance and productivity improved by 15% and wastage had reduced by 5%.

Most importantly the senior leadership team was united, deeply and positively.   

That always augers well for any business because it rolls down in accordance with the law of gravity!

They were able to have vigorous conversations, even disagreement. 

However, when they left the meeting they were committed to their agreements about which they had certainty and clarity.

There is a common assumption amongst senior leadership teams, whether in government or private enterprise, that they are aligned.

The reality is that they often aren’t, and often they don’t scrutinise their alignment.

The cost of that misalignment can be massive.

Knowing the vision isn’t enough for deep alignment of the senior leadership team.

How’s it going in your organisation?

When you’re ready, book a call here to discover what you can do about that.

Ready for Action?

Book a chat with David
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