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'Alignment' and not 'Surrender'

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A recent issue of the Corporate Dossier (Economic Times) carries a feature by Priyanka Sangani on well known and highly respected Management Guru, Tom Peters. The article has the following passage:

"Quoting from The Dream Manager, a book he recently read, Peters says that every individual has a dream that he wants to accomplish, and the role of the leader is to help his or her people to achieve that. And this doesn't stem from altruistic pangs or some psycho babble, it is plain common sense. If employees see that they are working towards achieving their goal, they are more engaged and focussed towards the greater goal of the business."

This point is constantly experienced and proved in the "CorporateTheatre" workshops.

As explained in another post in this blog, it is ineffective, in fact counterproductive, to expect people to surrender or drop their egos. 'We' is more important than 'I' may be a noble thought, but hardly practical when dealing with ambitious career professionals aiming at leading organizations themselves. The challenge of leadership is therefore to align individual egos and aspirations to the team/organizational goals. In other words, every individual must be convinced that if the organizational/team goal as outlined is achieved, they can WIN in a way that is meaningful to them.

Having said this, it is possible that one odd person in a team may have an individual aspiration that is not alignable to the team's functioning and goals. As covered elsewhere in this blog, a good team or a good leader is not a soft team or a soft leader. If the team finds a person who is not aligned and whose lack of alignment is disrupting the team's flow towards excellence, they use the 3-R option.

The first 'R' is Re-align. Do everything possible to convince the person concerned that it is in their own interest to work towards the team's set objectives. If this is not possible, the second 'R' is used - Redeploy. Put the person in another role or function where he or she may be able to find alignment or at least will not block the team's energy. If that too is not possible, we use the last option - the third 'R' - Remove. If removal is the only option, it is better to do it as quickly and clinically as possible. If the person who is not re-alignable or re-deployable happens to be a high profile or a high-visibility individual, it is all the more important to take action quickly. Such a person can distract many others in the team who would otherwise be alignable to the team's success and can be valuable contributors.

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