Byron's Babbles

Opening The Door To Alignment

Chapter 31 entitled “Co-create Alignment” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) dealt with seeking alignment when agreement is not possible. In my policymaking life I deal with this all the time. It was great to get DTK’s insight on the subject. He said, “Seeking alignment opens you onto a wide road” (p. 229). While consensus is what everyone is striving for in decision making, it is not always feasible or attainable in all situations. I would even argue it might not be the best course of action. Instead of setting consensus or full agreement as the goal, if we instead focus on finding alignment, the goal becomes finding a piece of the situation to align around as a common goal or interest. When we focus on finding alignment, conflict or disagreement can actually become a creative act that allows both parties to come to a more creative solution than either of party could come up with on their own.

We have learned much about leading through a crisis during the past year. The pandemic has challenged us to be more nimble and creative in our decision-making. When we rethink the meanings, the way we do things, philosophies, policies, and the myriad of other social issues, there’s a cascade of consequences. Therefore, alignment becomes critical. By focusing on what we and another person share in any situation, instead of what we do not, helps lead towards more creative solutions that honor both person’s ideas. By seeking alignment we can get to task-based conflict which allows us to focus on the strategies and methods for getting things done over emotions and personal dislikes. Alignment allows us to find the places we can agree and honors those disagreements we both have.

Context, as it always does, also matters here. If what we are truly seeking is collaboration then we must also have context seeking. When context is gained and clearly articulated we will be able to understand differences and account for them. This is very important and is necessary for everyone to believe they have been heard. With this clear understanding of opinions we will be able to decide whether we are or are not in alignment. Remember this, Alignment always takes precedent over the need to agree. Some of the best forms of alignment have been born out of a series of disagreements and differences. Are you opening the door to the wide road?

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