Notes From the Field: Aligning Myself With the Organization

Situational AnalysisWelcome to the Notes from the Field! In this series of posts, Alice will talk about how she used the five elements of innovative leadership to select a new job and transition into her new role effectively. She’ll explore each element in depth and provide examples of how she applied them in her own words.

Situational Analysis: Optimize Alignment With The Organization

A helpful tool for developing and increasing capacity for innovative leadership and transition into a new role is the use of Situational Analysis as outlined in the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook by Maureen Metcalf and Mark Palmer. Essentially, listed below, there are four dimensions of realities. The objective is to understand each, their interconnections and alignments, and create a balance between them:

  • Self
  • Action
  • Culture
  • System

Creating Balance through Practice:

Innovative and authentic leadership takes a great deal of practice and awareness. I am finding that a key element of innovative leadership is increasing my awareness of the four dimensions referenced in the bullets above. By being aware of examining the elements helps me look at how I fit within the organization and align myself in key areas in a way that is both authentic and effective.

For me, it’s unnatural to stop and consider awareness through all four dimensions. I may often reflect on how something will impact me, or my values, and how it will impact the culture of the organization, but I often miss the systems perspective. One way to minimize this exposure is to include someone responsible for the organizational systems in the discussion to be sure that an accurate point of view is being portrayed. So, I am learning that it may not be possible to gather all facts from one desk. This exercise can be a method of communication and transparency for teams across the organization.

Reflection – My personal responses:

1. Individual self/beliefs: What are my values and how do they impact my performance? How are my values aligned with this role?

I feel my values are currently aligned with the values of the organization and my new role. My highest value is integrity. This means I have an innate expectation that I act honestly in every situation and I expect those in my work environment to do the same.  I see integrity in the eyes of my employer and in the actions of the key staff, and value that I am working with people who consistently care about doing the right thing.

My second value is respect. To me, this means admiring strengths in others and myself, openness to a fresh and different point of view, and common courtesy of time and expectations of others, and treating myself with the same respect I treat others. Respect for coworkers and the organization also requires me to pause (think about what I want from the interaction before speaking) to consider the four elements referenced above.

While onboarding, I was challenged with an expectation to “drop-in” on other sales professionals during their day, with the objective to market and maintain “top of mind” as a vendor. I struggled with this for a couple of weeks because I felt that I was being disrespectful of their time, and I didn’t feel as I was being treated with respect in return. Simply put, I struggle to manage what seems like a conflict with my value of respect. I will continue to look for ways to accomplish my goals while demonstrating respect for others.

2. Action: How do my values impact my actions?

Actions are the physical demonstrations of values. It’s putting your vision and values into action. The impact of my decisions while interacting with clients and business prospects will be based on what the organization expects from me, but also on what I am comfortable doing.

In an effort to align myself with the marketing objective of staying top of mind, I have requested a slight change in my function to allow for calling in advance to schedule my visits in an effort to be respectful of others’ time, and increase the efficiency in the system for the organization. This in turn, has allowed me to feel freer in my role, and I am finding that the business prospects are showing respect for me and my organization.

I find as I get more familiar with the organization that other behaviors they expect are aligned with what is natural to me. I am very much customer service- and results- focused, and provide great support. My performance evaluation will be looking at these behaviors, so I anticipate not only an alignment between my values and my behaviors, but, also, an alignment of my behaviors and the performance management system.

3. Culture: How do my values align with our culture and values?

The primary mission of the organization is to take care of the customer, do it profitably, and honor each other and God in all that is done. From an onboarding standpoint, it has been refreshing to know that the key employees of this organization have been trained with this mentality and are aligned with my values. If this first dimension were not aligned, I would have had a longer and more stressful onboarding process and I might have discovered I accepted a job that isn’t a right fit for me. Evaluating the organization’s beliefs creates awareness for me to build a foundation and understand the culture. This awareness will, in turn, be necessary when I am making decisions on behalf of the organization.

4.  System: Are my actions aligned with what is expected in the organization?

This dimension ties together the previous three realities and should be given deep consideration. In my role, I am still working on understanding the systems, network, processes, and dynamics of the group. It’s interesting to note how systems can greatly vary across different organizations, and understanding the various cultures and values points to different structures and beliefs. This will be an area in which I will focus and reflect more on as I mature in the role. What I have learned thus far is that I am comfortable with the overall culture and it appears I am performing in accordance with their expectations of me. I have not yet had any surprises. I will plan a three month and six month review with my new boss to ensure I am meeting the organization’s goals and identify any areas where I can make improvements.

Overall, it is important to keep in mind that I need to understand myself and the organization and make a conscious effort to be both authentic and true to myself while also aligning my behaviors with the culture and systems of the organization. In this way, I will be able to navigate effectively moving forward without compromising my values or those of others in the organization.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

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