The Power of One

Achieving the alignment that leads to enterprise value

A highly functional team is able to pursue alignment around a clear and compelling operating strategy. This begins with a shared vision and purpose, the creation of which a culture of collaboration (as described in our previous post here) readily supports. Like people, organizations need to know who they are and where they are going. This begins with discovering core values, stating a purpose, and crafting a shared vision. None of these are static. The vision feeds and informs the collaboration, and the collaboration creates an environment in which necessary changes to the values, purpose, and vision will become clear over time.

Communication is the fuel that drives this alignment process. (Lencioni urges us to “over-communicate the vision.”) It is the context for collaboration. Who are we? Where are we going? What do we need to do to get there? How is what we are doing now moving us toward the shared vision? What (not who) is right? Such regular communication greases the gears in a well-tuned machine. The whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

In addition to collaboration, there is a (seemingly) inconsistent feature of aligned organizations: competition. A healthy collaborative culture needs a catalyst to propel ideas forward or in another direction, react to new variables, and innovate. Competition fills that role, though it is somewhat paradoxical in that it breeds isolation and collaboration simultaneously. Football is a great illustration. Players compete against both their opponents, and against their teammates, who want to take their place on the field. This keeps them sharp and improves their performance; yet, there is a time when competition becomes secondary to collaboration, and to continue to pursue it as a strategy will sub-optimize results. The same goes for business organizations. Without some internal competition, stagnation may set in. However, too much competition can erode trust and lead to divisiveness in the organization.

In summary, to have the right balance of collaboration and competition, an organization must first provide its employees with a reason to want to be present each day. A clear definition of “who, where, how, what, and when” provides the framework around which to align and a message to spur the organization into action. Capturing this strategy in a simple format – ideally on one page – will deepen clarity and capture the hearts and minds of everyone in the organization.

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Susan M. Diehl

Susan M. Diehl

Partner and Advisor

Susan Diehl is a is a partner with Trinitas Advisors, an executive coaching firm that helps business leaders build the leadership alignment they need to win more, grow faster and succeed longer. She can be contacted at