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Strategic Discipline Blog

The Deficit of Alignment

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jan 16, 2023

One Page Strategic PlanThe One Page Strategic Plan is a great tool to bring your organization into alignment.

If you believe creating a One Page Strategic Plan, will immediately bring your organization into alignment, you’re mistaken.

Reconsider simply achieving the objective details of this exercise as the key to alignment. You’ll need to invest time in Metronomic’s Cultural, Cohesive and Human systems to achieve the dynamic growth the One Page Strategic Plan promises.

“The best companies don’t cascade goals; the best companies cascade meaning.” ~ Marcus Buckingham, Ashley Goodall, Nine Lies About WorkBest Cos dont cascade Goals, They Cascade Meaning - Nine Lies About Work

Why Alignment Starts with Meaning

Nine Lies About Work dispels several commonly held beliefs in business. It’s one of my favorite books. Their findings are based on psychological and scientific evidence.

Another of my favorite books is The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. This quote illuminates the necessity to make meaning critical to performance improvement in your organization.

“Dr. Martin Seligman, past president of the American Psychological Association, believes there are five factors that contribute to our happiness: positive emotion and pleasure, achievement, relationships, engagement, and meaning. Of these, he believes engagement and meaning are the most important. Becoming more engaged in what we do by finding ways to make our life more meaningful is the surest way to finding lasting happiness. When our daily actions fulfill a bigger purpose, the most powerful and enduring happiness can happen.” ~ The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller, and Jay Papasan

The ONE Thing  Five Factors Contribute to Our Happiness Engage & MeaningYou may be saying, “My business doesn’t have meaning. We’re here to make money.” (Read Core Purpose Importance –Southwest Airlines Example for insights.)

This prevailing wisdom may work.  It may have for a long time for you. What I’m suggesting, is to make your organization more fun, more profitable, more meaningful, provide meaning in your work first.  

The most successful organizations do.

Winning on Purpose

mug-“Work is Love Made Visible.”In Hubert Jolly’s Best Buy Turnaround “Work is Love Made Visible.” Jolly turned Best Buy around by providing a meaningful purpose.

Fred Reichheld’s Winning on Purpose: The Unbeatable Strategy of Loving Customers, offers the purpose of every business as “meaningful service to others.”

Reichheld believes the highest purpose of a business is to serve its customers “One common denominator that a lot of us human beings seem to share is the desire to live a life of meaning and purpose—to make this world a better place.”

As a broadcaster for many years, my aspiration was to own a radio station. I had ideals, a purpose, and an intention to create a better radio station than what I had experienced in my career.

When I finally became an owner, I did achieve success. My partners and I made a 3x return on our investment in less than 5 years. Yet the purpose and intentions I had strived for largely fell by the wayside. The necessity to grow revenue, make a profit, and beat competitors, blinded my efforts to focus on creating meaning for the team we hired. Ultimately, I didn’t achieve the better radio station model I coveted, nor my goal of owning 7 stations.

Jolly and Reichheld offer an alternative that reverses the concept of alignment from goals to meaning.

Nine Lies about Work -Purpose at Work-3“Our prevailing assumption is that we need goals because our deficit at work is a deficit of aligned action. We’re mistaken. What we face instead is a deficit of meaning, of a clear and detailed understanding of the purpose of our work, and of the values we should honor in deciding how to get it done. Our people don’t need to be told what to do; they want to be told why.” ~Nine Lies About Work, Marcus Buckingham, Ashley Goodall

Many leaders believe our deficit at work is a deficit of aligned action. Leaders believe people need to be told what to do.

Building an organization that fosters continuous growth creates a meaningful purpose. Nothing generates enthusiasm, energy, spirit, and alignment in your team more than a team sharing a worthwhile purpose.    

Watch Marcus Buckingham explain the 3 Reasons for Goals: Alignment, Tracking, and Evaluation and why goals don’t achieve these very well.

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Performance Punishment - Liz Wiseman Lead on Purpose diminish by accidentIn Why Paying Unfairly is Fair we explored how compensation fairness causes your best people to leave. Jim Collins in Good to Great shared Discipline #2, When to Act, as advice on when to release poor performers. What happens when you keep poor performers on your team?   We’ll explore Performance Punishment and its consequences, next blog.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityA winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – Performance PunishmentDiscipline #2 When you need to make a people change First Who Then What 

Topics: Core Purpose, One Page Strategic Plan, Clarity of Purpose, Alignment, Purpose, The One Thing, Core Purpose, Clarity of Purpose,, Nine Lies About Work, Meaning

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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