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Gain Alignment

Gain Alignment

I love to collect “office speak” phrases.

Have you heard of any of these?


Blue-sky thinking

Idea shower

To ‘action’ a project

Going forward


Getting the ball rolling

Drill down

Out of the loop

Thinking outside the box

Touch base

Singing from the same hymn-sheet

Circle back

Strategic fit

Gain Alignment

Gain alignment is another one of my favorite office speak phrases.  Unlike many other office speak phrases, however, gain alignment has some merit and substance to it.


For organizations to be successful, they need to have unity.  They need to be, using office speak, “singing from the same sheet of music.” There needs to be organizational unity at the highest level.

Organizational unity has three distinct levels.

  • Acceptance –This is where the Powers-That-Be gives an order, and employees are obligated to toe the line. The organizational level of acceptance is the poor leader’s stable diet. It drives employee acquiescence, but nobody is committed to the vision that leadership casts.
  • Agreement – This is when employees are on your side. A directive is issued on, and the team supports it; they have bought into management’s position.

Problems arise when others start to talk about potential alternatives or purposefully being negative in a blatant attempt to cause disunity with the goal of tearing down the leadership. Detractors can easily sway those in agreement.

  • Alignment – Alignment is the ultimate goal. Alignment comes when your team is fully committed to the plan. The key difference between alignment and agreement is this: Those that align with you aren’t required to always agree with you.

Gain Alignment

The goal is to literally gain alignment—to achieve a level of organizational structure and leadership balance that everyone is aligned with the business plan.

How to Gain Alignment

  1. Discuss the three levels of unity with your team.   Everyone needs to understand that acceptance and agreement are too low a standard which produces only low morale, a muddled vision, and no predictable results.
  2. Clearly articulate your vision, strategy, or program. Leadership is required to be clear and consistent. Making employees guess the ultimate goal is a game no one wins and can only serve to weaken leadership.
  3. Create an environment that is safe for dissent. If you want cohesion and alignment, you must allow people a voice without comment or derision.
  4. Take time to consider your decision. Leaders must make choices.  And they need to weigh all options and include any dissent.
  5. Announce the decision and then ask for alignment. Let everyone know their opinions are valuable, and each was considered deeply in the decision-making. Go around the room and simply ask if they can align with your decision. You aren’t asking for consensus or agreement, but alignment. Employees can disagree but still commit to the decision.

The Bible

Romans 12:2 says.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

God is asking for your alignment with His plans.

He is asking for your alignment so you can grow and increase in your business.

But, just like in business leadership, it means you will have to change the way you think—you will have to change your mind.

The good news is when you change, the culture of your organization will change—procedures and precedents will have to change.  When we become committed to the plans God has for us, we have alignment with Him.  When our employees become dedicated to the plans that management has laid out for the business to prosper, then you have gained alignment. 

Work to gain alignment – with your team, and with God.