In organisational life, introspecting about ourselves and alignment with the organisation plays a vital role in the success of the individuals across all levels. This would be done by working on relationship building and developing the mental ability of configuring with people. We need to also understand organisation needs, expectations and then start configuring them with that of the Self. It is important to keep in mind that this process of alignment is dynamic and a continuous process.
Across organisational life, we on a day to day basis keep introspecting about ourselves and our alignment with that of the organisation that we work. Alignment is nothing but getting that configuration right with the organisation that we work for. Any employee whether at the highest echelon of the organisation or at the lowest, would want this alignment to be as perfect as possible.
I am of the firm belief and conviction that perfection in alignment may not be the ideal wish. But then ‘excellence in alignment’ which means a very high level of alignment of Self and the Organisation is what we should aspire for. Now while talking about excellence in alignment, the focus is on the configuration of the Self and the Organisation. This process of alignment of Self with that of the Organisation is a continuous process and we can not say at any time for sure that it has arrived. Further this process is not static and the alignment approach keeps changing from context to context.
From situation to situation and from each interaction to interaction with all people this alignment process needs to be improved. The “Self” is the most powerful embodiment which we should influence. We need to look at our “Self”, our interaction patterns, our styles, our methods, our habits, our thinking etc. We need an unbiased ourselves to work on our “Self”. This unbiased approach comes if we have the courage of conviction about self introspection. Working on Self with regard to the alignment would mean working on several aspects.
One of the crux items on working on Self will be: How do we value others? We need to understand and appreciate that each other individual is unique and each one has their own uniqueness. We need to respect them for what they are and value them. We all know of the need for that Emotional Intelligence. This ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide our thinking and action is of utmost importance. This is a unique intersection of the head and the heart that has to happen while we deal with people.
While we are clear on this and when we keep sincerely working on our Self and respond/deal with people based on this awareness, we slowly start impacting in a positive manner on our interaction patterns, our styles, our methods, our habits and what not. People around us then start experiencing these positive factors in us and the configuration between our self and others keeps improving. This in other words it is nothing but improvement in the alignment process. While our configuration with everyone in the organisation based on this awareness improves, the alignment with entire organisation becomes an obvious phenomenon and we get on to the path of excellence in alignment.
Beyond relationship building and that mental ability to configure with people there are other factors too that lead to excellence in alignment. As human beings it is natural to aspire for exceptionally good relationships with people. This aspect of positive relationship is vital and a very crucial underpinning for organisational life.
Now let’s look from the organisation perspective. It’s essential that we understand our organisation needs and expectations and then start configuring them with that of the Self. Any organisation as a business has a Mission, Vision, Values, Goals/objectives, and what not. All these are factors that lead to an organisation’s excellence. Only when there is excellence in the organisation, there will be benefit to all the stake holders of the organisation. Now each one of us as a stake holder need to decide as to how do we bring in that alignment of Self and the Organisation to achieve excellence.
It’s for us to examine deeply whether the Vision, Values, Goals/objectives of the organisation are of full conviction to us as an individual stake holder? Many of us as an employee find it difficult to feel and breathe as a stake holder. We need to live that role fully, examine deeply and understand as to why these are the values, why these are the goals/objectives of the organisation? What is the overall strategy deployed for achieving these goals? Am I convinced about all these? etc. We need to question ourselves as to whether we have that thorough understanding and conviction on all these factors meant for organisation excellence. Instead if we let lose on this understanding & conviction, we are letting loose the alignment process!!
There could be situations in organisation life where we are unable to bring in that understanding and conviction on these factors due to several reasons. During such times it’s for us to decide whether we progress with that lack of understanding and conviction. A big NO is the obvious answer. If No, is the obvious answer, then we have to make ways to seek, clarify and debate with whomsoever it may be to create that understanding and conviction in us. While we go to seek and clarify, we need to be clear that either we convince the organisation of what our point or logic is, as well be equally clear that if we get valuable point or logic from the Organisation side, we would stand corrected. By getting on to this process of seeking and clarifying, we bring in that clarity in us and thereby we are actually ensuring that there is a real good match between our thoughts on the excellence factors and the organisation’s thoughts on the excellence factors.
Thus, its essential to build in that understanding and conviction of the ‘Organisation excellence factors’ and not let it go as it is. It is essential to get that real good match. When there is a thorough understanding and conviction on the excellence factors, we would have laid a friction less path for alignment. And once this friction less path is very well laid for alignment, we can look forward as to how to build the excellence in alignment on this aspect.
Having laid a friction less path for alignment, the job is more than half done for creating that excellence in alignment. All of us know out of experience that once convinced of something, we all go out in full vigor and do it in full spirit. The same here is the reality and truth. When the quality of vigor is best, the quality of execution is at its best. When the quality of execution is at its best, the organisation excellence is also at its best.
When we have achieved high organisation excellence through factors which were of high conviction to us and with high quality of execution by us, it would be natural that our level of alignment with that of the organisation will also be of highest order thereby bringing in excellence in alignment.
Now, what about our career aspirations and ambitions in organisation life? How do we create an alignment on that? How do we get there? Yes, here again we need to come back to our “Self”. We all have heard, listened and read about several people of their success in career/organisation life and personal life. Be it their success experiences as they share or our own success that we all have achieved in small ways, the crucial factor is again the Self.
To aspire is to wish. A closer look on the word aspiration or ambition tells us it is nothing but what we want to reach. Primarily we need to check whether there is an existence of such an aspiration or wish within us. Most of the success oriented people possess this. With the assumption that aspirations/goals exists clearly within us with a high level of motivation, let’s move on to how to make it happen.
Like the way we are clear about our goals/aspirations, how much are we moving forward based on these? Based on our aspirations, do we perform and excel accordingly at work? To this, we may say ‘Yes’ but the crucial aspect is to analyse to whether we progress daily at work keeping in tab of these aspirations that we have? When it comes to contribution to work, it is essential that we share our career aspirations with the organisation. This does not mean announcing about it across the organisation. In these matters, when we refer organisation it would definitely mean the Superiors. We need to check out the ‘validity of our aspirations’. Checking out validity of aspirations is a two pronged process. First is to understand and analyse from the organisation the career plans that the organisation has for you based on your potential/competencies and the organisational needs. Then is to check how valid are your career plans based on the plans that the organisation has for you. The importance is to match these two. It is presupposed that we would have made an entry to the organisation based on a high degree of match that we found based on our aspirations. So also, the Organisation has hired us based on a high degree of match that we possess vis-à-vis what the organisation wanted.
We talked about creating the match between the plans that we have vis-à-vis what the organisation has for us. How do we go about creating that match? This is easily said than done. In the reality of organisational life there are Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that exists in the organisation for each Individual. We need to analyse the quantity and quality of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (swot) that exists in the organisation for us. This analysis needs to be done based on the plans that we have vis-à-vis what the organisation has for us
It’s most desirable and essential to have high quantity and high quality of Strengths and Opportunities and a low quantity and low quality of Weaknesses and Threats. If we get this ratio right, we are almost through. This ratio is the swot alignment of our plans vis-à-vis the organisation. Now, more than organisation themselves being a reason for the ratio difference of this swot alignment, we as individuals are major contributors in influencing this ratio. We can constantly calibrate on this in our daily organisational life and ensure that we create a match between the plans that we have vis-à-vis what the organisation has for us. Towards this we need to work on our Self.
The key questions that we need to answer are: What are we doing to strengthen these Strengths and weaken the Weaknesses? What are we doing to seize the Opportunities and cease the Threats? By being passive to whatever happens around us in the organisation, we are creating more of divide in the alignment process. We tend to believe that we can’t do anything to most that happens to us within the organisation and we become mute. We do not believe that it is our organisation and it is our career. The reality is that most that happens to us and around us can be influenced by us.
To substantiate this further, we should believe that many of the commonly believed organisation responsibilities are also individual responsibilities or at least factors that can be influenced by us. For example, one of the important organisation responsibilities that we all expect to happen is the aspect of “Providing feedback to employees” It is a strong belief that this is solely the organisation responsibility and if it does not happen there’s nothing that the employee can do about it. It is also believed that this is purely an Organisation function where the organisation is the doer and employee the recipient. Actually this is where our Self needs to corrected and reoriented.
Why can’t we as individuals seek feedback periodically if not given? Why can’t we make it a habit of seeking feedback from Superiors and not wait for it to be provided? Why can’t we make it happen and convert it as our function and still be the recipient of benefits arising out of the same? By doing so from our side, the weakness in the system is weakened and converted to our benefit. Thus, even when the organisation is unable to do some of those required aspects of alignment from its side, we ensure it happens thus keeping the alignment of our Self with that of the Organisation at a high order. This is just one of the several aspects that we may face. We need to apply and adopt the same constructive approach on all other aspects in our organisational life.
Another factor that we need to check regarding alignment is while we take up new assignments within the existing organisation or while making a career move and taking up a new assignment in another organisation. Have we examined closely on the validity of our aspirations in the new assignment? Will the new assignment help in achieving the aspirations and in turn enhance the alignment? These are questions that we tend to skip and probably look only at other fringe aspects of the new assignment. It is therefore crucial for us to examine these aspects of alignment suitability like the way Organisations check on our suitability to the job.
It is evident that it is the Self that matters in alignment with the Organisation than any other factor. It is the Self itself that is responsible for creating that alignment with the Organisation. To reiterate, the “Self” is the most powerful embodiment which we should influence. We also need to keep in mind that this process of alignment is dynamic and a continuous process wherein we need to keep doing the calibration as required from time to time in our organisational life.
President – Group HR, IT and Communications, Amara Raja Group, Hyderabad
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