How to create alignment with your leadership team

Only 20% of CEOs are able of driving change in their organizations. According to the latest CEO study from Egon Zehnder, a poor alignment between the CEO and the leadership team is one of the main reasons. In the research, the authors confirm that one of the major issues for CEOs right now is “building a capacity to relate to others effectively and authentically. That, in turn, makes it harder for CEOs to inspire their people and lift the collective ambition of their organizations. CEOs are also struggling to build cohesion with their executive teams and boards: Just 44 percent of CEOs said they were fully aligned with their teams, and even fewer said the same about their boards.” I can’t agree more. You can have a great purpose, the best vision, and a wonderful strategy but if your team is not aligned, everyone is gonna go in different directions. Leaders will build competing priorities and won’t share the same macro objectives.  As I do a lot of work with team alignment at a leadership level, I want to share with you some red flags as well as some solutions that might help you to deal with this problem. Red flags:
  1. The CEO pushes forward a massive transformation initiative without buy-in, and HOPING the team will get aligned along the way
  2. The leadership team formally agrees on change but some leaders silently disagree and run a PARALLEL agenda with their own teams
  3. The desired objective and outcome aren’t clear and well communicated. As a result, everyone FRAMES success in her own way
Are any of these signs familiar? Unfortunately, these are very common but they’re often underestimated with the concept that time will fix things. No. It won’t. Now that we know what are the main reasons why alignment is not in place, let’s look at some solutions. Solutions:
  1. THINK deeply about why you want to drive change, and what specific results you want to achieve, then build and articulate a compelling vision and communicate it every time you can in a very simple way.
  2. CREATE psychological safety and trust within your team so everyone feels safe to share perspectives, ideas, and concerns, challenge you, and give transparent feedback to make sure everyone is heard.
  3. CLARIFY roles and responsibilities and make your team accountable to make things happen. Don’t vanish, keep communicating why change is critical for the business, and put in place KPIs, and structures to allow change.
But what if you’re in the middle of the change and got stuck? Will these solutions work as well? I know it’s very hard to stop changes even if they’re not working. We get attached to them. You’ve invested time, money, and resources, but what are the consequences of keep pushing under the wrong conditions? Cost. A huge one. So it’s always a great idea to stop and go back to the basics and follow the steps I described earlier. Alignment is not harmony. Alignment is the combination of full commitment and mutual accountability towards a common goal. Without that, even a great CEO will fail at some point. Listen to the podcast related to this article:

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