Are You Really Sure Your Team Is Aligned? The Truth: Only 2 Percent of Companies Are Actually Aligned

According to a Build survey, 64 percent of the 600 respondents from emerging growth companies think their executives teams are aligned with regard to strategic priorities. In truth, in listing their companies’ top three priorities, executive team members matched up in just 2 percent of the businesses! When asked about their companies’ value proposition, the result was shockingly worse than the 2 percent.

In talking to executives about alignment, this is how a conversation goes with those giving the honest answer (the 98%!):

Me: So Ms. CxO, how aligned is your team regarding the company’s top priorities?

CxO: I really have no idea, but it feels pretty good.

Me: That’s good. So, what objective data do you have?

CxO:  <Silence for 10 seconds.> It’s a gut feeling.

But most conversations go like this (hence the 64%):

Me: So Ms. CxO, how aligned is your team regarding the company’s top priorities?

CxO: Oh, yes! We’re completely aligned.

Me: That’s great, I don’t often hear that.  So, what objective data do you have?

CxO: I’m highly engaged with my people, talking with them every day.

Me: That’s great.  To often people tell executives what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.  And there are times all of us lead people into agreeing with us by our facial expressions and tone of voice.  If your staff were to respond anonymously to a series of strategic questions would their answers align with yours?  Would you like to be sure?

Alignment of an organization is critically important – and just as obviously not common – the question is, how can I have some objective measurement of our teams focus??

A baseline assessment (either organizational-wide or sales and marketing specific) provides an effective, objective and immediate method to identify areas where teams are not aligned. As the survey says, most executives assume their teams are aligned, but most aren’t. (64 percent vs. 2 percent!) It’s an important issue, because when teams aren’t aligned, they’re not moving together in the same direction as effectively as possible…and the revenue and employee retention impact can be substantial.

One of the big benefits of the assessments is that they help get everyone on the same page to find out things like:

  • Assumptions might be different.
  • Training might be lacking.
  • Employees might not know what’s going on.
  • “If I had only known” answers.
  • Employees might not know what’s available to them.
  • Missing tools and processes that could lead to more productive employees and higher revenue.
  • Employees might have a lower opinion of the quality or capability of some teams.

There are all kinds of reasons for conducting an assessment. It’ll uncover these things, and once you know it’s there, you can address it head on. You’ll identify your greatest opportunities for improvement so you see results faster.

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