The Power of Alignment

Tom Robertson: Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2012 11:47 AM

The best teams are made up of individuals who are fully engaged. When a team member is really into it, the team gets full benefit of the person’s talent, and the person feels fulfilled by their participation in the team. 

Full engagement requires alignment. By alignment I mean that the team members share and buy into the team’s objective. I think of team alignment as happening at three levels 

–Team leadership holds the vision around which the team aligns

–Team members co-create their roles in realizing the team vision

–Each team member takes responsibility to create a role they can fully embrace.

I will explore the first two elements of alignment in future posts. For now, I focus on the last element. How does a team member create a role they can fully embrace? 

Here is where The Committee in Your Head comes in. We fully embrace something when we align our own internal committee. You know the feeling – when something not only makes sense, but it also feels right.

The modern neuroscience view of mind as a collection of cognitive modules, mostly unconscious, offers a way to frame internal alignment. It is when we make choices informed, to the extent possible, by all our sources of knowledge, conscious and unconscious.

But wouldn’t this require us to be conscious of our unconscious – a contradiction? Fortunately, our consciousness has evolved to work hand-and-glove with our unconscious. Our unconscious modules communicate with our consciousness, for example as feelings or flashes of insight. When we cultivate the ability to pay attention to these communications, interpreting and weighing them, we are more likely to tap into the wholeheartedness that comes with internal alignment. 

Personal alignment is part of the life-long journey of self-awareness we all travel. There are excellent tools, trainings, and frameworks available to help us flesh out our own personal user’s manual. I recommend pursuit of self-knowledge as a priority for anyone, and facilitation of personal alignment as key part of team leadership