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Maintaining Alignment

by Mark McClanahan

Alignment is a consistent theme of mine, and I commonly use the analogy of car wheel alignment when this topic comes up. Auto shops recommend aligning your wheels to help prevent problems such as uneven tire wear.

Alignment is crucial in business, and I would venture to say 100% of alignment relies on some form of communication. Without regular, consistent streams of information flowing throughout your organization, alignment becomes challenged. The absence of insightful, relevant communication causes employees to write their own narratives and to make decisions with less precision. This can cause unnecessary friction in the company, and I believe a key role of a leader is to reduce organizational friction.

How does one maintain alignment within the organization? One method we use at Mosby Building Arts is cross-team reporting. For instance, a member of the marketing team provides a monthly in-person report to other departments. This person shares YTD leads, campaign development, examples of current advertising efforts and upcoming events. At the end of the report, the floor opens for questions and feedback from the group being reported to.

A word of caution regarding cross-team reporting: Some individuals may begin to tire of this reporting tactic. You’ll hear people ask, “Can you just send us an email with the information so we can save time?” Experience has proved to me that emails are ineffective at achieving alignment within a business because the nature of email allows even well-intentioned people to set things aside for a later date, a date that many times never arrives. If it’s truly important to stay aligned, in-person reporting will provide a high return on investment.

Mark McClanahan (mmcclanahan@callmosb.com or 314.909.1800) is the president at Mosby Building Arts.
Submitted 2 years 272 days ago
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