Are you and your company going in the right direction? Or are you “dog-tracking,” as when the wheels on your car don’t square correctly with each other, and the steering and ride of the vehicle becomes erratic? Do you find it necessary to always steer one way or another, like tacking on a sailboat?
We all know that getting from point A to point B is most efficiently accomplished by directing along a straight line. In work, accomplishing your objectives and your company’s objectives is also best directed in the most efficient manner. Good alignment is key. You also need to have a vision for where you are going, a routing for how you are going to get there and your vehicle needs to be in good operating order!
In a recent meeting regarding formal documentation, a team at IQMS was discussing the differences between Standard Work Instructions (SWIs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), examples of what is to be done and then how to do it. This was an elucidating exercise in breaking down the underlying steps to achieving your objective (defining what and how). Developing a vision and a mission is similar, in that you also need to establish what is to be done (your vision) and how to achieve the activities (the underlying mission and what is important).
For example, one of IQMS' casual philosophies is: work hard, play hard, sleep well.
The underlying premise is that work time is for work, play time is for play and when it’s time to rest, it’s important to do so! This is particularly difficult when the phone chirps in the late evening or the little light on the phone keeps blinking. But nonetheless, if you don’t turn that phone face down, you will never rest.
The good news is, everyone at IQMS works hard. We are “lean” and rely on our awesome workforce to be present, to be engaged and to get the job done. This requires focus on the vision and dedication to the mission. Satisfaction can be derived from confidence that you have worked hard and are entitled to play and rest, and knowledge that you and the company you work for are acting in alignment with governing values - the building blocks for good alignment.
Most companies have published mission statements. Many forward-thinking individuals have also developed their personal mission statements. When your actions are in alignment with your company's governing values, it’s easier to be confident that the time you spend in any area of your life is well spent, instead of worrying that while you are doing one thing, you should be doing another.
Are you in alignment? By clarifying your values, you can articulate what is “real” to you. Your career? Your relationships? Free time? By identifying and defining your roles, you can identify the goals relevant to different areas of your life.
Take the time to write down what you value, how you want to spend your time, the contributions you want to make, the things you want to do and the person you want to be. You will want to take time for introspection, consideration and changing circumstances. Experience brings insights. You are looking to express your values and direction. Simply articulating this will help focus your objectives, allow you to prioritize your activities and assure the alignment of your values, goals and priorities.
In your company, if your systems are out of alignment, you may not be achieving desired results or you may be wasting time, energy and resources by going in the wrong direction. It take a little more effort to realign, such as working on the complex internal systems of your organization and examining the strategies necessary to execute the vision. Look to the operations that are going right and the people who are making the right decisions for insight. And of course, look to the greater system, the enterprise, the integrated nature of your operations, for keys to how one “system” affects another.
Take time to consider these aspects of alignment, to be able to put the phone down, to know your objectives and how to achieve them. Empower yourself and your company to get in alignment to achieve your “wildly important” goals. Apply the vision with discipline, passion and conscience to reap the benefits and achieve your mission. Be confident that you are going in the right direction.