If you asked your team what is essential for the business to thrive, would their real answers align?
Sure, throw some questions out in a meeting and answers tend to self-align. (Example questions listed below)
Imagine a hypothetical deposition.
Think about it. Would their answers align? Or would there be conflict?
Conflicting answers are the source of everyday frustration. They make emails and meetings difficult when people respond based on incongruent answers.
If you never asked and answered the essential questions, people, especially driven people, will fill the vacuum?
These answers influence how people orient themselves to make big and small decisions.
Now, picture a room with an outsider meeting individually with members of your leadership team.
The outsider will ask a list of your essential questions after “swearing them in.”
“Do you swear to respond truthfully or resign yourself to perpetual frustration?”
(You determine the questions. Here are some examples using the Alignment Pyramid Framework.)
Why does this company exist?
What big thing is the company trying to achieve over the long-term?
What are the core values of the company? Are they dead or alive? Does the leadership team use them to guide their behavior?
How does the company solve big problems?
How do we define the company culture?
What one guiding thought should people in the company consider when that are making a decision?
What types of behavior are essential for someone to excel here? Or will result in termination?
Why would an employee go through a brick wall for the company?
What key things do we explain to a person before hiring them?
What is fundamentally different about how we approach our work? Our industry? The world?
How does the company define success? Or what does success look like? What is critical to achieve that success?
Who is the company’s core customer? What is important to that customer? What adds value in the eyes of the customer?
What does the company sell? What does it sell from an emotional perspective? How does it make the customer’s life easier?
From the customer’s perspective, what differentiates the company from the competition?
How does the company convince customers to buy its product?
How does its offering stand out in the market? What is unique about the company’s offering?
What will the company not offer or provide?
Why do FrontLine people want to work here? Why do leaders want to work here?
What is essential for selecting people that meet or exceed objectives after one year of employment?
What is the FrontLine HumanPower dependent on? Examples – finding the best attitude, aptitude, intensive training, fogging a mirror.
How much training is required for someone to interact with customers on their own?
What is the company philosophy on compensation? On Training? On Retention?
How does the company attract and retain the best people?
What forms of emotional compensation does the company use? Which forms are effective, which are not?
How does the company deal with poor performers? With over-performers?
What does the organizational structure look like? How does it function? Who can make what decisions?
What are the objectives the company is trying to achieve this year? What information do you need to move the company towards achieving them?
What information is essential to clearly see reality? (How is it going? From customer, shareholder, FrontLine, management, department perspectives)
What is the key customer feedback to capture and measure? What tools are necessary to capture and measure it? Same question for employees.
What processes are used to understand Feedback and drive decisions and actions?
Is the company making money? As much as it planned? Is the company financially healthy? Where is the company generating or losing cash?
What information is captured to track company alignment with Frequency, Survival and HumanPower answers?
In this company, is it more important to deal with reality or maintain harmony?
What items are essential for delivering value to customers?
What processes does the company use to deliver value to customers?
What are the biggest frustrations of FrontLine workers?
What do we do when things don’t go according to plan? How do we recover?
Would you be nervous to read the transcripts?
Would answers line up? If the questions are never asked and discussed, probably not. Some organizations spontaneously align generally when the leader is so clear about the answers that his or her actions and behaviors consistently communicate the implied answers so people “get it,” but spontaneous alignment is a rare bird and eventually flies away.
Aligning the answers will unlock your cell of frustration.
It is never too late to start aligning the answers.
What if there was a follow up question or two – that sounds like the company line; what is reality? What do you think the answer should be?
Could you handle the truth?
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