Getting Everyone Aligned to the Right Ends

Last post I wrote about the common disconnect between individual jobs and organizational goals:  The Trap of False Ends  Making these connections real is a daily challenge for managers.  Add a significant organizational change mandate and the challenge gets a lot tougher. 

Most organizations and industries are aware of acceleration in the pace of change in the world around them: their supporters, members, funders, customers and competition.  Responding effectively to those opportunities consumes the working days and keeps paid and volunteer leaders awake at night. 

Of course, the story just begins there.  Once a change direction has been worked out on paper it must be implemented throughout the organization.  This presents a wonderful chance to kick-start the connectedness that all employees and volunteers must have with real organizational goals.  These are the “right ends” to be achieved.   The degree to which this full personnel alignment is accomplished will directly affect how well the new goals are achieved. 

Everyone must consciously and actively participate.  This is always true, but highlighted in change projects.  No one is too unimportant and no job too peripheral to not contribute and be recognized for that contribution.  Even more important, every single person identified with the organization must feel some degree of responsibility for meeting the change goals.  That allows everyone to pick up on the small signals that are early indicators of tactical success or failure.  These will be noticed in interactions all along the demand and supply chain.  Adjustment and improvement ideas will also come from these interactions.  Much easier and way cheaper to make early adjustments than to abandon a change mandate for lack of support.

The problem is that most organizations are not set up to deploy their full personnel capacity in pursuit of real organizational excellence.  That means they are severely handicapped in any significant change attempt.  The best consultant in the world, the most dedicated board and the most enthusiastic senior leadership will be forever disappointed in their improvement results unless they first restructure and re-educate to get everyone else on board.

That takes time and specialized effort but well worth it.  Especially considering the stakes involved in implementing any large-scale change. 

Besides, it is the right thing to do.  Everyone wants to belong to something bigger than themselves.  Give your staff, your board and your management and leadership a chance to be part of the change team.  The results will surprise you.

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