Representations interfere with the bulletproof alignment required of executive committees.
Now that we understand some of the barriers, how can C-level committees alter their representations to align, powerfully, toward accomplishing management results that apply to both individual and shared goals for the enterprise? The answer: Become actively invested in creating a level playing field.
Becoming Actively Invested
To foster this collaborative environment, the approach is quite fundamental: Members of the executive committee must cultivate an authentic curiosity toward, and about, other members of the executive team.
The keyword here is authentic, meaning it must be worked on in earnest and created with the utmost commitment to success. Moreover, at first blush, this may be easier said than done, particularly if it is foreign to executive team members.
In “What Leaders Do,” the Harvard Business Review points out that, “[Alignment] is more of a communications challenge than a design problem [and] invariably involves talking to many more individuals than organizing does.”
The effort and time commitment needed to understand the innate viewpoints, strengths, and weaknesses of fellow executive team members are intrinsically necessary to successfully tackling the litany of critical challenges faced by an enterprise.
A Level Playing Field
This also means realizing that the game at hand — and gains that can be made by way of an authentic, collaborative effort — are so big and ambitious that they cannot be tackled alone. With everyone aiming at the same target, no single executive’s initiative is a threat to another’s goals or objectives.
This represents a paradigm shift from thinking, “I’ll do my thing really well and then collaborate with Joe,” to “If Joe does not succeed, we simply won’t make it.” When an authentic commitment is established across the committee, the questions become, who do we want to be? What stories do we want to write together?
However, it takes more than a declaration and commitment; it takes elbow grease and real work. We’ll discuss how to realize these commitments in the third post in this series, Powerful C-Level Alignment: Part III — Amazing Results.