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Wouldn't it be nice to be able to inspire others into action-- to create more profitable as well as satisfying results? Do you want to know how to get people heading in the same direction, working towards the same goal? It doesn't matter if you already have some [Link Removed] under your belt, if you've taken hundreds of business communication courses, or if you're just starting the investigation process into new business communication methods, this article will help. You can take your business communication to the next level by learning to create alignment with others. Alignment? What alignment? Keep reading and find out!

It's Not Just for Tires  

If you‘re like most of us, you‘re probably wondering what business communication has to do with alignment. It’s possible that the only time you ever thought about alignment was when you needed to get your tires aligned. While that’s not the “alignment” we‘re discussing here, it does operate on the same theory. In order for your car to perform at its best, it’s essential that your tires are aligned—that they‘re all moving in the same direction. The same is true for any business relationship; they’ll be at their best when both people are aligned and moving in the same direction toward a desired result.  

What we're talking about here is not about improving your communication skills or just learning new listening techniques. [Link Removed] or any interaction where people need to work together to create the best outcome, begins with alignment.

Think about it this way: in life, we go about our business, heading in our own directions while trying to achieve our own results. At the same time, we are all inter-connected with each other. As we try to achieve the results we want, our interconnections put limits on how far we can go in our own direction. Now, when we have alignment about what we want, and we start sharing the same vision, it makes it much easier to get the desired outcome. Alignment opens the way for greater success and mutual satisfaction.  

Aligning Within  

Before you can create alignment with someone else, you need to identify, and be able to express, what’s most important to you about the outcome you want. To do this, you’ll need to identify the underlying values hidden within your desired outcome. Perhaps you want everyone in the office to show up 10 minutes before a meeting starts. When you dig down to find the hidden value, you might discover that consideration is very important to you, or you might highly value effectiveness. Just remember, within every desired outcome there are values that motivate you to want it in the first place.

Alignment Conversation - Moving in the Same Direction  

Once you identify your own underlying values, it’s time to discover the values that you share within a partnership or group. You start this discovery process by expressing the values you’ve identified as important to you in your work environment. Then you ask if those things are also important to the other person, or people, and if they would be willing to explore ways to create that kind of experience. This is the process of aligning your values—creating a shared vision. This shared vision might sound something like: having a more harmonious relationship or being more effective or increasing productivity. Once you define your shared vision, you‘re ready to effectively negotiate strategies to achieve your desired results.

Points to Keep in Mind during Conversation:  

As you start the alignment conversation, it’s important to remember to keep it as strategy-free as possible. During this beginning stage, we suggest that you make an agreement with the other person not to try and figure out how to get the specifics of what you want. Once you’ve agreed upon your shared vision, there will be plenty of time to move on to the specifics of how to reach your goals. It’s also wise if you and the other person, or group, agree to avoid spending time talking about the failures of the past. (Bringing up the past can be useful, but only if it is done to understand values that may have been missing back then, not to assign fault or to justify your skepticism.)

Also Include:  

A willingness to negotiate strategies that are mutually agreeable
A commitment to let go of judgments and/or criticisms
An agreement to celebrate all wins that come from this conversation

Once you are sharing the same vision, you‘re now working toward the same end result—the big picture of what you all want. This will make it easier to create situations that produce results that everyone will enjoy.  

When everyone is making agreements from a shared vision, you’ll start rolling along down the road to cooperation and teamwork with far fewer bumps than you encountered before—cooperation and teamwork that will increase productivity and will create rewarding results for everyone involved.  


Creating alignment is just one way we've found to actively [Link Removed] 

Each tip offers practical advice for creating the relationships that you really want.

And for more great tips, visit our blog: [Link Removed] 

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