……..Much has been written about Southwest Airline’s alignment, marketplace disruption, and enduring success. Fueling employees’ devotion, passengers’ enthusiasm, and financial fruits, Southwest is a true illustration of positive alignment of vision, values, leadership, behavior, and rewards for all parties – employees, stockholders, and customers. The resulting impact was leveraged exponentially, magnified, and shared!
More recently, alleged improprieties at a corporation are unfolding. It appears that the value of greed may have superseded integrity; that making the numbers was more important than treating employees and customers with respect and honesty. The influence of this apparent corporate culture has had great negative impact via media coverage, lost jobs, brand impact, and uncertainty. Recovery is hard after a trustbuster of this magnitude. Light shone upon core operations and leadership may indicate values, beliefs, behaviors, and actions showed up in a way that may be out of alignment with laws and customer expectations. It matters with what you are aligned. Alignment for impact is not an insurance policy for positive results, without ascertaining carefully with what you associate. It matters with whom you do business and how you choose to conduct it.
Early days as the tree care industry’s CEO validated the business owners were folks with whom my parents would want me to associate; primarily family-owned businesses, from a billion-dollar corporation to small operations – God, family, and apple pie. Smart, successful leaders, they performed physics calculations in their heads, protected commercial properties and people’s homes, helped keep the lights on, provided jobs, and took care of the one renewable resource we have in this world.
There was opportunity to exponentially increase their impact from accredited businesses to certified safety professionals to expanded marketplaces to responsible regulation to transforming the industry for the next century. The Board, the members, and the staff took it on. Seventeen years later, their association has an even higher stature with more staff and representatives nationwide and fabulous leadership. Their coffers are full. They have saved lives. They take pride in their professional gifts, the protection and beautification they provide, their employees’ successes, and their contributions to the world. They are in alignment with their transformational vision, core values, purpose, how their companies do business, and how their association represents and supports them. They are aligned for maximum positive impact.
This state does not appear in a flash, because you decide that you or your company will seek alignment and desire to have greater impact. It requires concerted effort and commitment to make sure the components are in place to design the environment in which it can flourish. When assessment first begins, it is not unusual to start from a slightly arrogant assumption that we are already aligned, and just need to tweak it a little for more impact. However, circumstances are often not as anticipated and require significant attention and dedication to redesign. In fact, as we commit to align for impact, there can be a momentary personal or company breakdown when reality hits that necessitates outside expertise to navigate.
Align for impact is the big secret, both personally and for companies and organizations. Below are starting points to begin your walk from both perspectives……..