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Welcome to the inaugural issue of Alignment Solutions! I am pleased to use the launch of my newsletter to unveil another milestone: my new company name. After doing business for three years as HR Value and discovering the profound impact of our work on my clients' overall business outcomes, I realized I had outgrown that name. Going forward, I will be doing business as Business Alignment Strategies, Inc. I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com to find articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues.

The three sections of Alignment Solutions are described below. Each section contains content in a condensed form that is intended to challenge you or provoke you to take action. If you are intrigued and want to know more, you may find a link to a longer article or specific relevant tool on my web site.
  1. Feature Article provides a thought-provoking article that challenges you to take action and/or examine the alignment of your own business practices.
  2. Business Solutions offers concrete ideas you can apply immediately to ensure better alignment in your organization.
  3. Personal Solutions proposes ways to apply business alignment concepts to your personal life to help you achieve your personal goals more easily.
I welcome your feedback!

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How to Set Your Organization Up for Success

One of the biggest obstacles to organizational success that I see is a misalignment between outcomes and inputs. This dysfunctional situation often takes one of two forms: (1) organizations engage in a series of random actions or reactions because they don't have a clear picture of their desired outcome, or (2) they have a clear outcome in mind but don't know how to achieve it. Consequently, no matter how much harder, faster, or longer employees work, the organization cannot make progress. As a result, employees become disengaged, burned out, and frustrated.

The bottom line: misalignment leads to ineffective organizational results.

Here are my questions to you:
  1. Do you see the big picture?
  2. Do your employees see the big picture?
  3. How do you know?
If you answered "no" or "I don't know" to any of the above questions, I challenge you to take at least one concrete action today to begin to change that situation. The tip in Business Solutions below will get you started. For additional steps you can take to begin to align employees' performance with organizational goals as well as examples of the consequences of misalignment, I invite you to read my article How to Set Your Organization Up for Success on my web site.

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Do Your Employees See the Big Picture?

How do you know whether, or to what extent, your employees see the big picture - i.e., the outcome your organization strives to achieve? Try this simple tip: walk around and engage them in conversation. Begin with your management staff. Ask this question: "What is your job?" If people respond by listing the tasks they perform, they probably do not see the big picture or how they contribute to it. You have work to do! If they respond with a description of the organization's outcomes, celebrate the fact that they see clearly their contributions to the desired goals.

For a discussion and examples of the power unleashed when employees see and feel connected to organizational outcomes, I invite you to read my article The Transforming Power of Asking, "What's Your Job?" on my web site.

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Goals and the Wisdom of a Two-year-old Child

Do you have very clear personal goals? Are you confident that they represent what you REALLY want - i.e., that they are outcomes rather than inputs? Here's one process you can use either to create goals that truly are outcomes or to confirm that your current goals actually are the outcomes you desire.

Consider this common interaction between a two-year-old child and an adult: the child asks as question, the adult answers. The child asks "Why?" and the adult answers. The child again asks "Why?" to this new answer; the adult responds. This pattern repeats itself until the adult is out of patience or until the "final" answer is reached. I have found that this pattern of asking "Why?," answering, and asking "Why?" again over and over is extremely effective in uncovering organizational and personal outcome goals. Warning: this process is deceptively simple. It requires time, patience, and some soul-searching to discern what we really want, namely the ultimate outcome. Everything else before that point represents an input - necessary, but not sufficient for reaching the outcome.

For more explanation on the importance of identifying goals that truly are outcomes as well as an example that illustrates how and why this process works, I invite you to read my article Goals and the Wisdom of a Two-year-old Child on my web site.

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Date of Publication: February, 2008
Pat@BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com
www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com | 562.985.0333
Copyright 2008 - All rights reserved, Pat Lynch