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Managing Alignment Challenges (Part 3 of 3) – Improving Performance


During many consulting engagements we identified that organizational misalignment as a major factor in organizations and individuals were not achieving goals

Today I want to cover the second in a three part series on Managing Alignment Challenges to improve the odds of bringing successful change to the listeners’ organizations.

Last month we covered, Managing Conflict and Relationship Tension. This month I will cover…

2. Managing Complexity and then next month

3. Improving Performance

What are the signs of problems with Performance Improvement?

Here are some familiar problem statements we here from our clients about this third area of Alignment Challenges

  1. We could be better at identifying problems and their solutions before they actually occur.  We are too reactive and this slows us down
  2. The way we allocate resources and feedback on their performance compounds problems in managing progress
  3. People get so absorbed in what they are doing that Key Stakeholders are not actively involved. This has led to tension between them and the project team
  4. We are reactive and respond too quickly to changes to understand the implications and impacts on other elements and groups
  5. We don’t reuse what has been done before – “Reinventing the Wheel” is costly and takes time
  6. Measuring the impact of what we do is too subjective and lessens our ability to stay within budget.
  7. Cost overruns and missed milestones are too common and compounded by finger pointing.

What are the criteria for successful performance

Build on existing language.If there’s no common language, you are confused and competitively blind. But, you need to start where you are!

Change is hard, real change is real hard.Companies routinely initiate change but never seem to “really” change. We focus on avoiding those common “change traps”

Change is not about making time, it’s about releasing time.Executives must “create” time for change by reducing the distractions to getting work done.

Coaching cascades reinforce change.Managers must coach and be coached.

Create an accountability environment. Support, compensation, and other directional systems must be integrated.

Do “different” things! Don’t just do “things” differently.Think “out-of-the-box” and do different things rather than trying to get a little better at what you’re currently doing.

“Everyone needs to walk the same talk.” Receiving inconsistent voices from various sources causes people to “do what they’ve always done”.

Measure the “hows” not just the “whats” of success.Move management’s focus away from what was achieved to how you can win – measure leading indicators, not just lagging indicators.

No one sales process is the “right” one.The “right” sales process is the one to which people are committed.

Paint the train – revenue and competency grow together.Too often such training is disconnected from “real jobs.” Revenue and competency growth are dynamic concurrent processes not static sequential ones.

Sales and marketing people learn when they realize their collective ignorance risks losing a specific deal.It’s not what you know, but what you don’t know that creates competitive vulnerability.

Speed, intensity and momentum are critical.Move with “speed” to swim above cultural inertia. Move with “intensity” by focusing on a few new things. Build “momentum” by promoting early successes.

White Noise can’t be ignored. The background “hum” of distracting cultural legacies- “white noise”- drags change and must be overcome FIRST.

For more go to PDS Groups web site

The Heart of Performance Improvement – Effective Delegation

At the heart of Performance Improvement lies in Manager’s being required to delegate responsibilities for those people who have been identified for promotion

A Working Definition

Enabling others to do a job for you while ensuring that:

  • They know what you want
  • They have the authority to achieve it
  • They know how to do it.

By communicating clearly:

  • The nature of the task
  • The extent of their discretion
  • The sources of relevant information and knowledge.

Each task delegated should have enough complexity to stretch – but only a little by including:

  • Agreeing criteria and standards by which the outcome will be judged.
  • Agreeing first how often and when information is needed to monitor progress
  • Avoiding making decisions for the delegate when they are capable
  • Not making a decision unless provided with clear alternatives, their pros and cons, and the individual’s recommendation.
  • Not judging the outcome by what you would do, but rather by its fitness for purpose.
  • Delegating the task and its ownership so that it can be changed or upgraded, if needed.

To get to the state where effective delegation can flourish needs people to be aligned.

What is alignment?


  1. Clear Expectations

–      Validating & agreeing statements about what two people expect of each other

–      Agreeing measureable deliverables that will evidence fulfillment of each expectation.

  1. Mutual Accountability

–      Accepting responsibility & authority for agreed upon expectations between two people, for tasks performed & results achieved

–      Accepting positive or negative consequences of that performance.

Real Alignment

Performance Improvement ranges from the formal to informal yet for any effort to stick, managers and leaders have to constantly reinforce the need for effective delegation which inherently involves coaching. The basis for this condition is that when expectations relating to effective performance are made explicit, it is the responsibility of the originator, usually the Receiver’s Manager, to gain agreement to the expectation and the Receiver giving the evidence they are going to provide to meet the expectation. This is  a very effective way of reaching mutual understanding so that the rating of performance and coaching is objective.

 For Help in Getting Your People on the Same Page 
Nick Anderson, The Crispian Advantage

E-mail  I Web  I Linkedin I Call 1+ (616) 745-8667


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