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Apr 17 14

Alignment Drives Results

by The Authors

Too often leaders assume that team members and people throughout the organization become aligned through a process of constant communication (drumbeating)—until expected results fail to materialize. Then they wonder what happened, saying something like, “I thought we were aligned on what needed to happen.”

Here’s a case in point: The senior leadership team of a large consumer products manufacturing company recently spent considerable time, effort, and money redirecting the organization’s strategy and culture. New goals were set, bold strategies were launched, and an aggressive culture change agenda was embraced. Six months into the envisioned transformation, after endless hours of communicating new expectations, the senior team acknowledged that the incessant communication, surface agreement, and heightened activity had not translated into real alignment throughout the organization. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence in today’s organizations.

When it comes to achieving Key Expectations and Key Results, remember that you’re always going to face different levels of alignment. The highest level, the level that engenders complete ownership and real personal investment, is what we refer to as “Complete Alignment.”

Complete Alignment brings people to a level of agreement, commitment, and involvement that motivates them to do everything necessary and possible to fulfill expectations and achieve the desired results. When people arrive at Complete Alignment, they not only invest their “hands and feet” in the endeavor, they also pledge their “hearts and minds” to get it done. And they don’t stop until they achieve it, which is what happened when the senior leadership team earlier mentioned gained Complete Alignment throughout the organization—not only were the new goals and bold strategies achieved, but the organization’s culture shifted in ways that enabled them to repeat their success in future years.

To learn more about creating Complete Alignment on your teams and in your organization, we invite you to join the Accountability Community at, where you can review actual client case studies.

Accountability Community is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc.

Apr 10 14

Get Stuck Leaders Above The Line

by The Authors

We all fall Below The Line—on issues, tasks, projects, Key Results or even in relationships—usually more often than we’re willing to admit. No, it’s not wrong to fall Below The Line; it’s human nature. However, it is also totally and completely ineffective to stay there. One individual stuck Below The Line can negatively impact the performance of an entire team. One leader stuck Below The Line can negatively impact the performance of an entire organization for years.

We recently worked with the CEO of a midsized financial services company who allowed himself to get stuck Below The Line in the middle of a culture change effort. At the very time he was asking his direct reports to take greater ownership for developing innovative solutions and achieving new levels of results, he was amplifying his highly directive, often dictatorial, management style. The obvious contradiction seemed apparent to everyone but him despite repeated attempts at counseling and coaching. Not surprisingly, the culture change effort languished until the CEO finally recognized and corrected his Below The Line attitude and behavior. Even then it took months before the CEO’s direct reports began to cautiously emerge from their “command and control” response stations to embrace the risk-taking, critical thinking, candid communication, and creative problem solving that was required to change the company’s culture and future. Today the company is making slow, but steady progress.

Getting stuck Below The Line produces only one outcome: undesirable results. When a leader gets stuck Below The Line, the breadth and depth of those undesirable results become magnified and even entrenched. If you are the leader of a team or organization and want to “Change the Culture” and “Change the Game” in your company and industry, make sure you stay Above The Line and model the specific changes you want to see in your direct reports and everyone else in the organization. Culture changes one person and one team at a time—so begin with yourself and your team. To learn more about how to not be stuck Below The Line and help others get Above The Line, join our Accountability Community at

Below The Line, Above The Line, and Accountability Community are all registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership.

Apr 3 14

Creating Customer Experiences

by The Authors

The beliefs your customers hold shape the purchasing decisions they make, and those beliefs won’t change unless you create new experiences for them. Customer experiences shape customer beliefs, customer beliefs determine customer buying decisions, and customer buying decisions favor your organization or its competitors.

Here’s a case in point. The CEO of a client organization in the healthcare industry approached one of his disgruntled customers with a simple message: “I know you’ve developed some rather negative beliefs about us over the past few months, and I’m here to find out exactly what those beliefs are so that we can change them.” After the surprised customer delivered a detailed description of her beliefs and the experiences that had created them, the CEO surprised her again by saying, “These are not the beliefs we want you to hold, so we’re going to create a whole new set of experiences for you—experiences that will change your negative beliefs about us.” For the next several minutes the CEO discussed the new experiences that he and his organization planned to create in a determined effort to change the customer’s beliefs. What ensued in the weeks that followed was a dramatic, positive turnaround in the customer’s beliefs.

Is there a shift in beliefs that you need to make with one or more of your customers? If the answer is yes, then begin by identifying the result you’d like to achieve with your customer. Write it down. Next identify the beliefs your customer currently holds that might prevent you from achieving your desired result and ask yourself, What are the beliefs I want my customer to hold? This step may require one or more in-depth discussions with your customer. Then identify the new experiences that you will need to create for your customer in order to shift his or her beliefs. Finally implement the new experiences and test for movement.

Creating new customer experiences is the key to shifting or changing customer beliefs—and customer buying decisions. To learn more about how to change the beliefs of people inside and outside your organization, we invite you to join the Accountability Community where you can review actual client case studies.

Accountability Community is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc.