How do you get an organization to come into alignment with a vision? I'd like to suggest that there are six things you need to have to have a fully aligned organization.
#1: It all begins with people decisions, who gets on the bus, who gets off the bus, who gets to sit in what seats. People will pay more attention to who gets promoted, who gets fired, and who gets hired than anything you say or anything you write down in a vision statement.
#2: Measurement. What gets measured has a huge impact. Even if it's not tied to any particular compensation, people will pay attention to what is measured.
#3: Communication of all types—formal, informal, external, internal, using symbols, telling stories. To have alignment, you need to have consistent, ongoing communication.
#4: Powerful, catalytic mechanisms. Remember from Good to Great the story of the company that gave its customers the right to be able to decide how much they would be willing to pay based upon their perception of how satisfied they felt themselves to be? That is a powerful, catalytic mechanism that reinforces that our vision has something to do with customer service.
#5: Super consistency. This means living your values. Bringing alignment around values isn't just about not doing the wrong things; it's about going out of your way to do the right things.
Finally—and this is most important—#6: The flywheel effect driven by tangible results. Chapter 8 of Good to Great talks about how these companies managed change by producing results consistent with the values and the objectives they had in place. When those results began to accumulate, people lined up behind those results. Because what do the right people want? They want to be part of something that just flat out works.So, quick review: #1, people decisions; #2, what you measure; #3, communication; #4, catalytic mechanisms; #5, not just consistency but super-obsessive, compulsive consistency; and #6, the flywheel effect.