Achieve Strategic Alignment Through Personal Mastery
A company that is strategically aligned is conscious of its responsibility to customers, management, and the workforce. Unless these three constituencies are the focus of planning and execution, sub-optimal performance and the loss of competitive advantage are likely to follow.
While many in the industry express knowledge of this formula, how this affects individual and collective performance had remained unexamined.
For example, can a company be strategically aligned collectively if the leadership of the company does not see themselves as team partners with customers and the workforce? Can a resentful workforce hide their misalignment with management from the customers they serve?
To understand what it takes to be “strategically aligned”, let’s explore how alignment can encourage personal growth, commitment, and fulfillment.
Self Alignment is the Core of Strategic Alignment
Alignment can occur between groups, individuals and even within individuals. Simply put, effective execution requires that we first be strategically aligned with ourselves. What exactly does this mean?
The ability to achieve strategic alignment requires a level of personal mastery on the part of management and the workforce and a desire to educate potential and existing customers. Specifically, leaders who are unaware of themselves, especially their impact on others are at a great disadvantage in creating alignment in their company. More importantly, they are less likely to attract and develop workforce talent for their enterprise. It isn’t too big a leap to speculate on how this might affect customer alignment.
Here’s how it works. Commitment to a relationship is a function of the potential for growth. The leader who neglects personal mastery is not likely to model this attribute to the workforce. They are not required to achieve personal mastery by stretching beyond their mental models. And the workforce places the same value on the customer that they perceive the company places on them. In relating to customers, they are not energized to add value to their customers and strengthen their commitment to the company and its products.
As a result, the customer is not as likely to continue to buy future products or services from the company. Or at a minimum, the customer is unlikely to speak enthusiastically with others about their experiences with the company. This results in a lost opportunity, as the company’s most cost-effective advertising method (word of mouth) is not utilized and the result is lost revenue from potential customers.
Personal Mastery is the Core of Self Alignment
All of these negative outcomes represent a failure of strategic alignment at the individual and corporate level. At CEOE we believe that personal mastery at the individual level is a pre-requisite to achieving strategic alignment at the group or corporate level. This is especially true of leadership, where the leader’s influence has a pervasive effect—for good or bad—on larger groups of constituents.
The first step towards achieving self-mastery is having true self-knowledge. But to achieve this requires progressing from unawareness to self-awareness to emotional intelligence to self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge is different from self-awareness and emotional intelligence which are the usual stopping places for most who want to improve their ability to use emotional information to guide their thinking and behavior to achieve alignment. Self-knowledge is knowing yourself as you truly are, not as your old mental models perceive you to be. Acquiring greater self-knowledge is no easy task, but the rewards are worth it. The transformation that occurs when we go from unawareness to self-knowledge results in exponential growth in our potential that can lead to success beyond our biggest dreams (old mental model) and facilitates strategic alignment within ourselves and subsequently others.
Personal Mastery Facilitates Strategic Alignment
Strategic alignment at the individual level means that you have attained a high level of self-mastery including how tacit mental models influence what you see and how you interpret it. This level of personal mastery increases your level of connection with all others. As you become more self-aware you will discover that high levels of integrity, responsibility, forgiveness, and compassion are natural by-products. In short, character is now at the center of your functioning. Others admire and trust you more and you level of humility approaches your level of self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge built on conscious self-awareness, which includes emotional intelligence, is where the leverage of influence and effectiveness lives. It is where exponential potential for growth and also happiness live which should be the exact reason why we seek strategic alignment in the first place.
Our early beliefs and established ways of perceiving the world (mental models) are challenged by greater self-knowledge. The person who truly understands the connection between self-knowledge and strategic alignment automatically generates trust and respect in others because they are self-trustworthy and self-respecting.
How to Achieve Strategic Alignment
The path to achieving strategic alignment starts with aligning yourself to be as strategic as possible in your own life. This facilitates the ability to know when and how to engage with others for strategic initiatives that will produce productive and positive outcomes. A pillar component of aligning with others is commitment. Commitment to mutual initiatives, shared values, coherent vision, and mindful alignment with each other that goes far beyond transactional interactions.
As highlighted earlier, commitment to a relationship is a function of the possibility of growth and there is no better basis for business success than alignment based on this understanding. We have written two books that show how one begins to change existing mental models as a means of forging a path to your greater self and strategic alignment. They are:
Ascend: Forging a Path to Your Truer Self
Business Success Through Self-Knowledge
For additional information on how to create exponential potential, get in contact.