At times, we come across solution proposals that may not cohere with the broader context of the organization.

An instance of this occurred when I assisted a client in revamping their company’s vision, strategy, structure, and work processes. We were thrown a curveball when a new proposal surfaced, seemingly out of the blue.

The client justified this by stating a similar approach was successful at another company. However, differences in conditions and strategic vision, both of which we had previously analyzed, led to confusion.

The Disconnect and its Consequences

Regardless of the talks and agreements held with top executives, the drive to solve obstacles can have them grasping at options. Unfortunately, attempts to enact solutions can result in confusion among customers and staff.

In this case, the executive went ahead with the new proposal, leading to disarray across the organization. This necessitated walking it back and explaining its context and significance to the customers and support team.

Perceptions and Reality

The perceived suitability of a proposal can differ based on one’s perspective. Consequently, it is crucial to cross-check a proposal’s alignment with the existing vision, structure, and processes. Should something seem mismatched, it warrants a closer look. The problem is that it can be difficult to spot mismatches. After all, the proposal’s authors are likely to have an overly optimistic view of what they’ve put together. They might also lack insight into how their proposed solution will be received by others in the organization. This can lead them to make assumptions about its viability that may not hold water once it is put into practice.

Ensuring Alignment

To ensure a smooth future, cross-check proposals with questions like – Is my proposal aligned with the existing structure, goals, and culture? If not, what needs to be done to gain clarity or bring it into alignment?

These practices save unnecessary time and expenditures in the long run and uphold the alignment of structure, goals, and culture in your organization.

If you want to ensure that your proposal is aligned, the first step is to gain clarity on yourself. You can ask yourself:

  • What are you really proposing?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by doing so?
  • What are your motives for making this change?
  • Do your reasons align with those of your organization or does there seem to be some disconnect?
  • If so, what needs to be done in order for everyone involved to come into alignment?

Over time I’ve realized that alignment is a powerful tool for ensuring that your ideas are realized and that the best possible outcome results from them. When you align with others, whether it be co-workers, managers, clients, or vendors, you create a set of expectations that everyone understands and agrees upon.

This helps to increase effectiveness as well as reduce conflict down the line when things don’t go quite as planned—which they never do.

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