So what’s the difference between agreement and alignment, and which matters most for you and your team? Sometimes success requires both, but it’s important to first understand the difference so you can decide which is a better fit for your team’s culture and goals.
The defining difference between the two is this: in an agreement, there’s a consensus about the goal and the means of achieving the goal. When you’re in alignment, you may disagree about how the goal should be achieved, but you’re on board with the trajectory of the goal and are committed to making it happen.
An organization doesn’t necessarily need complete agreement for the team to succeed. As long your crew is aware and aligned with the ultimate vision, your team will be inspired, empowered, and self-motivated.
As a leader, it is your responsibility and opportunity to discover, connect, and align with the perspectives of your team. The good news is, each of these layers presents countless opportunities to do so! Actively seek to acknowledge where your team shines and struggles— and guide them to do more of what they love, what they’re good at, and what makes them feel fulfilled.
Investing in your team this way will not only strengthen your personal connection; it will also create an environment where your team is comfortable to be creative, experiment, and grow. This is where innovation happens!
If you feel disconnected in your work, or even in relationships with friends and family, you’re likely out of alignment and/or agreement with the overall mission. So… what do you do when you’re the one that’s out of alignment? How do you maintain integrity and authenticity while still moving forward? The key here is to choose to meet people wherever you’re aligned and build from there.
This looks a little different whether you’re in a personal or professional setting.
On a personal level, this looks like intentionally connecting however possible. Between your worldview, history, your views on organization, love, and mutual experiences— there’s always a layer you can align with. Find it, invest in it, and nurture the connection to help it grow. If you can communicate openly about the overall goal of the relationship (for example, you may want to work toward being lifelong and loyal friends, a strong a healthy example of marriage for younger generations, or committed accountability partners) it becomes much easier to identify when you’re veering off-track and need to realign.
Professionally, it’s a little more straightforward. Focus on the larger goal of the organization and what you can do today to help make it happen. Direct your attention to the bigger picture instead of yourself, and when necessary, approach disagreement with humility. Help your team see the values they bring to the table that contribute to the growth and success of your organization, and acknowledge how their gifts align with your focus and direction as a company.
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