New Leadership Video: Achieving High Action and High Alignment

Posted December 22, 2015
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog highaction 2015

Get­ting large-scale results doesn’t come about just from work­ing real­ly hard at what you do. It requires being in sync with oth­er peo­ple, so that togeth­er, your con­tri­bu­tions add up to much more than the sum of their parts. While there may not always be agree­ment, there must be align­ment in order for you to joint­ly accom­plish your goals.

The lat­est in a new series of video tools for results-based lead­er­ship describes how lead­ers can get to High Action and High Align­ment — a key con­cept of results-based lead­er­ship devel­op­ment. A sim­ple grid helps lead­ers iden­ti­fy where they or oth­ers fall.

When a leader isn’t engag­ing with oth­ers nor appear­ing to take any action, it’s easy to see he or she is in low action and low align­ment, and not very effective.

But the grid also helps you iden­ti­fy oth­er pro­files of lead­ers whose ways of work­ing may, below the sur­face, be get­ting in the way of results.

For exam­ple, per­haps a leader has strong rela­tion­ships and appears to be very col­lab­o­ra­tive in work­ing with part­ners for social change. This could mask the fact that she may not be liv­ing up to promis­es she made to get things done. That’s high align­ment, but low action.

Or, con­sid­er a leader who works very hard, tak­ing deci­sive action and get­ting things done — but he doesn’t stop to con­sid­er the ram­i­fi­ca­tions for his part­ners or to think about how his con­tri­bu­tions should line up with a big­ger goal. That’s high action, but low alignment.

The sweet spot for lead­ers to be in is high action and high align­ment. This means they are tak­ing the kinds of action that are high­ly impact­ful — and they are doing so in a way that com­ple­ments and builds on the actions of oth­ers. This is the place where lead­ers will see that the work they do togeth­er achieves progress toward the result in an accel­er­at­ed way.

Once you’ve been able to fig­ure out where you are on the grid, you can be con­scious of the action and align­ment you need to pur­sue large-scale results. The grid helps lead­ers start con­ver­sa­tions with each oth­er to rede­fine respon­si­bil­i­ties and rela­tion­ships so that their work togeth­er is more effective.

Learn more about the Foundation’s approach to results-based leadership

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