Review of Mirror Mirror Whitepaper – Many contemporary approaches to driving engagement still don’t work. They are focused on capturing people’s attention and exerting control rather than meaningfully connecting peers to each other in ways that allow them to succeed. Addressing the context for communication is the key to contemporary, dynamic alignment. People are motivated to accomplish goals and they build loyalty to a team and an organization when they trust each other, when they are a good fit with the culture of that team and organization, and when they all have a shared understanding of direction and priorities.
Traditional approaches to engaging people use “broadcast” communication methods. With these methods, peer-to-peer interaction is limited, and they don’t take into account the need for dynamic, resilient and adaptive approaches to engagement. This is what I call the “tell and sell” approach to engagement – we will market our ideas to you through an avalanche of emails, webcasts, and portal messages and you will then comply because you “got our message.” Instead, what is needed is an “ask and engage” approach that is consciously designed to build ownership, shared meaning, and shared understanding through dialogue and interactive communication.
A simple example is a project plan. If I, as a team member, have been actively engaged with my peers in building the plan from the very beginning instead of having it handed to me, it’s much more likely that I will fully understand it and be “engaged” in executing it.
Mirror Mirror allows leaders line of sight into the culture and the interactions that are key to building dynamic, adaptive engagement and alignment. Alignment used to mean “we’ll tell and sell you all the organizational goals and objectives and then you’ll line up and follow.”
Alignment now must happen “on the fly.” In the current business environment, priorities, goals and objectives are constantly shifting. Teams must be prepared to anticipate changes in direction and adapt accordingly. This can only happen when they trust each other, when they have a shared understanding of that shifting direction, and when they are willing to engage in candid dialogue about what’s happening and what to do about it.
The Mirror Mirror White Paper explains how this approach to alignment works from the team perspective, within the context of their whole system at work. It is different in that it gives leaders an understanding of the climate of psychological safety, the gaps in understanding of the goals and objectives and priorities, and it surfaces the obstacles to success. Most importantly, it combines a quantitative approach with a qualitative approach to identifying areas of misalignment and then it allows for the type of dialogue and exchange that is so crucial to building the trust and understanding in teams that is the foundation of their efficacy.
I strongly recommend any leader or practitioner wishing to improve team performance in organizations to read this Whitepaper The Alignment Imperative.
Mary E. Boone is a US-based author and consultant, designing strategic, complexity-based approaches to communication, leadership and large-scale meetings. She and co-author David Snowden received an Academy of Management award and an Emerald Citation of Excellence Award for their Harvard Business Review cover article “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making.” Her books include Managing Inter@ctively, and Leadership and the Computer.