To align is to join, straighten, adjust and properly coordinate resources tasked with achieving a specific goal. The alignment process can include staff, suppliers and business units. Alignment is a powerful means of getting to your goals as efficiently as possible. Start-ups can be chaotic and it is essential that all resources are working in the most effective way. Test your alignment by asking:
- Do your employees understand your vision? A great way to find out the answer to this question is to ask your employees to repeat back to you where they believe the company is headed. Ask them to define what they believe success looks like for the entire business; learn and recalibrate as necessary.
- Have you set and communicated clear goals? You will need to do more than send an email or two on this one. There is no substitute for an adult-like conversation, face-to-face, video or phone, to gauge your employees’ level of understanding and engagement. It’s only fair to your employees that you take the time to explain.
- Do you have measurement capabilities in place? It’s pretty hard to stay on course if you don’t have a compass or a GPS. Numbers are your friends when you are trying to keep a company aligned. They can be an objective way of communicating progress or challenges without anyone taking it personally.
Inspiration and incentives, combined with clear direction can be a fundamental leadership formula that will produce robust alignment.