For any organization, communication is the core which keeps everything running. If the communication strategy is not well structured, there is a very high likelihood that the organization will not function properly. It is for this reason that there is alignment which allows for better communication. The essay below looks at this issue in greater detail.
Importance of Alignment
It is conventionally acceptable that communication is a major factor in the running of any enterprise. Without the proper communication mechanisms, even the best investments and organizations are bound to fail. It is in this line that effective communication strategies have to be incorporated into the organizational culture of an organization. According to Matha et al (2008), alignment is one of the major factors that can lead to the alignment of the communication strategies within the work setting. Alignment is defined as the arrangement of instructions and actions up, down and across the members of an organization. In other words, it is a strategy whereby everything that takes place in an organization is done through meticulous organization and everyone understands what he has to do and why. It helps to create a sense of teamwork.
Since alignment is such a great tool in management of organizations, it is necessary to look at how leaders can take advantage of this opportunity. First of all, it is apparent that the leaders have to align organizational culture to the strategy and goals of an organization (Cox, 2007). It is well known that the culture of an organization is the manner in which tings are done within the organization. It is the order in which things are done in the organization in order to realize its dreams (Cox, 2007). Aligning this to the strategy is very important as it can help in making the people work towards realizing the goal of the institution. Leadership is always required. This implies that the leaders have to choose a leadership style that allows them to effectively interact and relate with the employees. A good leader has to understand his team and also learn to work effectively with the team in order to realize the goals of the organization. Once the culture is aligned to the strategy of the organization and the leadership, bringing in an alignment in communication becomes very easy.
Evans (2012) has it that aligning culture to communication is good for strategic planning within the organization. From the previous paragraphs, it can already be seen that the leaders need to have a way in which they can connect with the employees. Thus, the culture allows for the interaction of the management and the staff. This makes it easy for the people to effectively communicate with their leaders. The leaders are close to the people; hence their word is not taken just as another word in the chain of command. The staff can air their opinions freely, give their suggestions and anything else they feel might be of assistance to the organization. This constitutes good communication (Brown, 2011).
The above account shows how a leader can use alignment to become good at communicating. There are simple steps; adopt an organizational culture that allows for direct interactions between the management and the staff. This breaks the deadlock which exists when the managers work behind closed doors. The interactions create a relaxed working atmosphere where the employees feel that they are part of the team and their opinions and suggestions are highly valued. As such, they are free to communicate effectively without fear or reservations. Through such a strategy, synergy is achieved. There is a continuous flow of information up, down and across in the organization. The overall result is that there is effective communication.
Just to give an instance of how such a system can work, there is the example of the case study given by Linsky (2007). He cites that such an alignment can be seen in a company where the morning meetings are not held with preset agendas. As such, anyone is free to air out any issue that is of interest to the company. Also, it is well that when meetings are held with pre-written agendas, the other ideas that people might have are seen as AOBs, not important in the current setting. Important issues can be set aside simply because there are some agendas, set aside by a few people, which take the center stage. Alignment has it that such processes should be written off. When anyone can come up with the agenda, there is a higher likelihood that constructive communication will take place since there is no feeling that some issues are more important than others.
Linsky (2007) further observes that alignment can help in making people more critical in thinking. He puts it that under the alignment, changing of mind or opinions is allowed, even between conversations. However, having no opinion at all is not permissible. In other words, alignment helps in bringing out the resourcefulness in people, which is beneficial for the organization (Matha et al, 2008).
In my practice, alignment has made me become better in communication than I was before. First of all, it has made me realize that I should openly speak my mind out without fear of making a mistake or being seen as ridiculous. At my job posting in an acute care hospital, I usually work in conjunction with a lot of professionals. When a matter arises which has to be handled by a team, everyone has to give an opinion in line with the professional qualifications attained. This happens every now and then when handling different cases. Since the institution has employed the alignment techniques, I realized that I do not have to play second best to anyone else. I am the best at what I do and my contribution is important to the success of the team. If I give my opinion, it might lead to a quicker solution and if I keep quiet and watch, I won’t learn. With this realization, I gained more confidence in my work and can effectively give my opinion on any issue. In turn, I have learnt a lot and become even more experienced.
Brown (2011) has it that effective communication isn’t just about delivering the message. Rather, a person who is effective at communication must also be a good listener. By applying alignment in my work, I have come to learn that listening to the opinions of others is also very important. I cannot be good in everything. As such, I have to listen to those who are informed in areas that I am not. For instance, there was an instance when a social worker had recommended an activity that I found risky for a patient I was working with. Rather than take it out on the social worker, I had to listen and understand why he had come up with the decision. In the long run, we came to a professional agreement. As such, I can say that alignment has made me more professional and good at communicating. I, therefore, agree with Matha et al (2008) that good leadership has to be based on good communication. Communication, on the other hand, has to be enhanced through alignment.
Brown, B. (2011). What is Effective Communication? Retrieved on 17th Sept. 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/69309-effective-communication/
Cox, R. (2007). Aligning Culture, Strategy and Leadership. Retrieved on 17th Sept. 2012 from http://www.executiveforum.com/PDFs/SchneiderSynopsis.pdf
Evans, J. (2012). Align Culture and Communication for Better Strategic Planning Results. Retrieved on 17th Sept. 2012 from http://www.evancarmichael.com/Management/5844/Align-Culture-and-Communication-for-Better-Strategic-Planning-Results.html
Linsky, M. (2007). The Morning Meeting: Best-Practice Communication for Executive Teams. (Attached).
Matha, B. et al. (2008). Beyond the Babble: Leadership Communication that Drives Results. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. (Attached)