Prior to (and during) strategy execution, creating alignment is crucial to the realization of your strategy.

Given how often alignment breaks down, what it really takes to generate this critical element in your company is often missing and unclear.

According to the 2014 Insigniam Sentiment survey:

1. Two of the greatest challenges to strategy execution are failure to align and failure to coordinate across units.

2. Establishing (the necessary) collaboration and trust is also critical to success in a major initiative. (73% of executives surveyed said this was critical)

When your car’s tires are out of alignment it impacts the entire car and every passenger, since it doesn’t ride smoothly. This also creates uneven wear and tear on the tires.

Likewise, when people are not aligned with the vision and strategy, and when the various constituencies are not aligned with each other; there is lots of wear and tear on everyone working to execute. And, like the car, the work doesn’t move forward smoothly.

Enrollment vs. buy-in is key for successful strategy execution

Generating real alignment, takes a unique kind of communication called enrollment.

This is different from buy-in. Buy-in is often approached from the perspective of “getting people” to take on something new which they don’t own.

The orientation during enrollment is around people participating, collaborating, and owning the vision and strategy. The net result is a much smoother pathway for execution with increased collaboration and trust.

Five Stages of building alignment

This enrollment approach to establishing alignment for execution is generated through five stages of conversation:

Stage 1:

Establish an authentic sense of relationship amongst those working together, centered on a mutual understanding of commitments.

Stage 2:

Communicate a new possibility that truly touches people, and which ideally they collaborate on, or can otherwise see as their own.

Stage 3:

Initiate those key conversations in which the actual pathway to the realization of the opportunity gets fleshed out together. (The who, what, when, where, and how of it.)

Stage 4:

Have action conversations in which people commit to what their role and results will be and by when.

Stage 5:

Generate conversations for completion, feedback and acknowledgement.

These dialogues are not done simply one at a time, but overlap and go on throughout the whole strategy execution.

When they are all done, without skipping any of them, you will be well on your way to building the kind of alignment needed for powerful execution, and a culture of collaboration and trust.

Want more on the power of enrollment? In our next blog series we will highlight each one of these stages of conversation in more detail.

Takeaway for you: Where is one of the stages of enrollment missing from a strategy execution you are involved with? What conversation can you begin to introduce?

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