How Does Your Team Make Decisions?

The People Alignment Compass – Part 2

A leaders’ guide to mastering the Essence of People Alignment in today’s business reality.

Welcome! The People Alignment Compass is a new series on Leadershipwatch. The People Alignment Compass provides tips and insights on how leaders can create people alignment. The checklists are hands-on and based on real life situations that I encountered over the many years that I worked with leaders in a variety of organizations and within a range of different cultures. If there is one fundamental insight that I would take out of these years it is the ever-increasing importance for leaders to be able to create people alignment in today’s changing world. Not just aligning structures, procedures or systems, but people! Successful leaders create organizations where people deliberately choose to build success together. Where people act out of commitment, out of a common focus and sense of direction. Where people create strength out of diversity and cultural differences. Where people choose to collaborate when confronted with complex challenges and change.
The People Alignment Compass (PAC) helps you to detect potential weak spots in people alignment and points you at possible ways to strengthen it. Each episode of the PAC will address a different aspect of people alignment and gives a set of key questions that offer you guidance in dealing with these types of situations. I wish you a pleasant journey!

Situation – How to spot alignment (or a lack of it) by observing the decision-making process?

Some time ago I worked with this leadership team that was leading a complex change process. The team had a hard time in getting employees and management engaged. Resistance was high. The organization complained about the lack of clarity from the leadership team about what it wanted to accomplish with this change. The leadership team didn’t understand this, because they spent a lot of time and energy on communicating decisions and objectives to everybody. What was going wrong?

One of the elements that reveal leadership alignment (or a potential lack of it) during team meetings is the way decision-making is taking place. Pay special attention to the details.

PAC Checklist – Spotting (a lack of) alignment by zooming in on the decision-making process

  • How do we discuss issues?
o      Do we spend enough time on understanding the root causes? Or do we jump to actions? Do we do this to maybe avoid sensitive topics?
o      How sure are we that we have a common view on the problem? How do we check with each other? If we don’t, why not?
  • What decisions do we take?
o      Are our decisions focused on filling action lists or on creating desired results? If we are action oriented, why? Is a result focus triggering difficult discussions we don’t like?
  • How well do we understand our decisions ourselves?
o     What if I would summarize my understanding of what we decided? Would we all share the same interpretation? If not, why not?
o     Do we all have the same understanding of the consequences of the decision? Do we check these things with each other? If we did, how would it impact our focus and communication as a team towards the organization?

Asking these questions during team meetings will help the team to spot potential areas of misalignment and will fundamentally change the quality of decisions. It will enable the team to be much more consistent and clear in its communication towards the organization.

Please leave your ideas and comments below! Do you have a specific topic or situation that you would like to see addressed in one of the upcoming People Alignment Compass episodes? Just let me know!

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Filed under: Business Transformation, Change Management, Communication, High Performance Teams, Leadership, Leadership Alignment, People Skills, Team Work Tagged: Business, Change Management, Decision making, Leadership, Organization, People Alignment, People Alignment Compass, Post-Merger Integration
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