In fact, its become one of the most overused cliches in the business world.
“Hey, let’s all get on the same page”
Right up there with “think outside the box” (oh gosh, my mentor used to hate that one….)
Leaders are always talking about alignment – that need to get everyone marching to the beat of the same drum (yet another cliche).
All these sayings are bandied about for a reason. It’s absolutely true, and absolutely critical.
I prefer to call it “a unity of cause and values“, because we really need to get two things lined up to really go beyond good, or even great. To get to extraordinary.
A lot of times it’s just the one, the cause. That is, the goals of the enterprise, and the processes and measurements that are used to get to those goals.
I call it the cause, because it truly is something a leader needs to get everyone to rally around.
But there’s another step that is necessary, one that is at a higher level – the alignment of the values of the enterprise with the values of those within the enterprise
And the interesting thing is, it’s not really a matter of getting the words right at all levels of the organization – there are many different ways of saying the same thing. But the underlying values are the same (my business partner Liz Strauss has really helped my understanding of this point – thanks Liz)
Here’s an example – my former company, a cable TV & broadband business. The summation of the enterprise value at the executive level was something like “Be the Employer of Choice, and the Provider of Choice”
For the folks working within the company, we changed it to this: “Serve our customers and Support each other”.
We spent a lot of time asking as many of the employees as we could about what they valued, in their work and in their lives. And while they too used different words, the ones that we knew would be with us for the long haul were the ones that shared those summary values.
These were the people we could unite with.
And then rally around the cause.
Yes, A group united, in cause and values. can achieve extraordinary things, for others, and for themselves.
Why not be extraordinary?
(My thanks to the attendees of SOBCon NW in Portland this past weekend, who were the source of inspiration for this post, and who did something extraordinary themselves by giving their minds and hearts so brilliantly to two worthy causes, Direct Relief International, and The Global Hope Network International)