COACHING MINUTE: 3 Questions that Measure Organizational Alignment

By Davy Crockett

Organizational alignment can be simply defined as measurable objective goals that help to drive results from the senior leadership level all the way down to frontline employees. We face a tremendous number of challenges in healthcare today, and leaders must align their teams in order to respond effectively.

Before diving into any new initiative, it is important to ensure your employees and leaders are aligned in their perceptions of what the organization does and doesn’t do well. Just as a physician must diagnose before she treats a patient, leaders must dig deeper into what makes our organization tick before making drastic changes.

As mentioned in the book Straight A Leadership, a great way to start to evaluate alignment in your organization is to ask your leadership team three questions:

1. What are the top three things your organization does effectively and should continue to do?

In our experience, patient care often comes out as the top response in most organizations.

2. What are the top three opportunities for improvement?

We typically find that silo thinking, accountability, dealing with performance issuesand communication are the most common responses.

3. What are the top barriers you face that prevent you from achieving your goals/results in your area of responsibility?

Time, lack of resourcesand too many meetings often top the list for leaders.

In one of your next meetings, ask these questions, and give your team time to think about their answers. Discuss your answers transparently, and determine if there are any major gaps. This will reveal where to start to create organizational alignment.

It is natural for people working in different areas or at different levels of the organization to see things differently. For example, senior leadership might say that accountability is their biggest opportunity for improvement, but frontline managers might feel that communication from the top is a larger concern. Once these gaps are identified, senior leadership can dig deeper to determine why these differences exist and how to better communicate to get everyone on the same page.

In order for our transformation initiatives to thrive, we must ensure that everyone across the organization is aligned in their perception of the organization’s current state and the path forward. To ensure coordination and collaboration in any new initiatives, an organization must be aligned at all levels.

Davy has over 30 years of experience in acute and post-acute hospital operations and coaching leaders. He has a diverse background with a focus on service excellence, creating an environment for employee growth, leadership development and process improvement.

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