How to build leadership alignment


Building strong leadership alignment is crucial, regardless of the size of your change initiative. Underestimating the value of this alignment upfront can lead to a lack of leadership buy-in, which is often the primary reason for the failure of transformation and change initiatives.

It’s about helping leaders recognize their influence, understand their critical role in the business, and acknowledge that they are the role models others look up to. Leaders need to be equipped for the journey ahead, providing the right support to engage their team members and stakeholders, fostering adoption and understanding of the changes, and turning them into advocates for the change.

Leadership alignment efforts should focus on creating a common understanding among leaders, ensuring they comprehend why the change is needed, building commitment toward the program vision, and addressing any key areas of disagreement.

Key Leadership Behaviours:

Example behaviours that are essential for leaders to demonstrate during a change programme are:

It’s advisable to discuss and define these behaviors collectively, possibly incorporating them into training or creating principles to guide leaders through the change effectively.

Practical Steps:

Now, let’s explore some practical steps you can take to build leadership alignment within your change project or programme.

1. Identify Leaders, Stakeholders, and Influencers:

Begin by getting clear on who your leaders are. This term is broad and may include key sponsors, the entire leadership team, and influential individuals within the senior management level. Identify those who play a crucial role in influencing their teams.


2. Conduct Interviews:

Conduct interviews with leaders to understand their perspectives on the programme. Questions may include inquiries about their understanding of the programme vision, perceived benefits, thoughts on risks, and their role in ensuring success. Share these insights with the group to align perspectives.


3. Stakeholder Mapping:

Utilize stakeholder mapping to plot individuals on a grid based on their influence and impact. This will help tailor strategies to ensure alignment, considering the varying needs of different stakeholders.


4. Create an Action Plan:

Develop an action plan for leaders, outlining specific activities to strengthen alignment. This plan may include workshops, training sessions, forums, or even one-to-one coaching and development tailored to each leader’s needs.


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