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Alignment vs. Agreement

Alignment is when we walk the same path.
Agreement is when we walk the same path for the same reason.

A lot of frustration in communication stems from trying to achieve agreement when alignment would be sufficient.

Let’s say you care for sustainability and you suggest some initiatives to save energy and emissions.

How important is it that the CFO agrees with you about the why behind those initiatives? Would it be a show stopper if they see a financial benefit but don’t agree with you on the deeper purpose of (this particular approach to) saving the planet?

I’ve seen brilliant ideas die in ideological battles around the why when the destination was all that actually mattered.

Once you’re on the way, you might discover that there is, in fact, a lot more common ground than you thought. Alignment might turn into agreement down the road.

But if you’re not even willing to start the journey unless there’s agreement, alignment might not happen in the first place. And, as a consequence, change can’t happen.

How about you? Did you – or someone on your team – ever let agreement get in the way of alignment?

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