What Does an Aligned Management Team Look Like?
Kelly Schaefbauer

Part two of a series on organizational alignment. Read part one here.

At Aligned Operations, we believe the path to success for any organization is through an aligned management team. So what does an aligned management team look like? To answer this, we need to talk a little bit about organizational structure.

Whether you realize it or not, all social entities have an organizational structure. The structure is the division of work and the hierarchy for support. When the structure of an organization is intentionally designed for a specific purpose we say that it is a Requisite design. When an organization does not create a requisite design, you get a design by default. The ultimate question is: does the design of your organization serve its purpose? Does it align with your organization's vision?

There are three fundamental layers in any organization. Each layer in this structure includes specific roles to ensure the execution of work aligns with the vision.

Layer 1: The Vision

Vision is drawn from the core beliefs and purpose of the organization’s Visionary (often called the CEO). The purpose is drawn from the gap he feels between his beliefs of what should be and the current reality. The visionary recognizes that he can’t bridge the gap alone and calls to inspire others to join him.

Layer 2: The “How”

Evolving toward the vision requires breaking it down to digestible chunks called goals. Creating goals is the job of the organization’s Integrator (often called a GM or COO). The integrator dissects the vision from the visionary and creates 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year goals. These goals are organized by function. Accountability for the top level functions is assigned to the Director role. I call these top level functions Business Units. They are most common Internal Operations, New Client Development, and Production/Service Delivery. The final break down of the “How” layer are Departments.

Accountability of the departments is assigned to the Manager role. The proper execution of tasks should contribute to a desired Result. Directors and Managers work together to determine the benchmarks for results that will align with the department’s goals. It is up to the manager to determine how tasks need to be execute to create the desired result.

Layer 3: Execution

At the end of the day, actions need to be taken for the vision of an organization to be realized. With the guidance of the manager, the ground floor workforce focuses on the mastery and execution of these tasks.

Success comes when there is alignment from Tasks to Results, to Goals, and ultimately to the Vision. As the visionary is the why, the management team, starting with the integrator, is the how. The integrator aligns the directors, the directors align the managers and managers align the workforce.

When "the how" is aligned, clarity, confidence and trust naturally develop. This internal unity allows the visionary to turn his focus forward. Lack of unity and trust creates confusion, doubt and drama within an organization.

Our next article will show you how to align your organization and move it from confusion, drama and doubt to clarity, confidence and trust.​

This post originally appeared at Aligned Operations