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Communications Intelligence: Designing Alliances

The goal of creating an alliance is to inspire colleagues to actively choose who they want to "be" as a team while "performing" all of the team's necessary responsibilities. This approach gives equal weight to both relationships and tasks. Designing an alliance with purpose serves as a catalyst for establishing and enhancing company culture.

It takes more than just being a great creative leader to make an effect. By changing your perspective from one of reactive problem-solving to one of proactive relationship-building, you may effectively manage at all levels of the business.

According to research, boosting team morale and productivity go hand in hand (Fredrickson & Losada, 2005). It also implies that teams who establish precise conflict and decision-making protocols do better than teams who do not establish those agreements (Guttman, 2008). We can clarify agreements with the help of the structures provided by Alliances and the team becomes more cohesive and aligned as a result of consciously debating issues.

What Does it Mean to Design an Alliance?

Designing alliances — to borrow a term from Co-Active coaching — is an incredibly useful tool for defining the perimeters of a given relationship, clarifying expectations, and establishing a strong channel for communication. As an agreement that two parties voluntarily opt into, a designed alliance co-creates an active living container that changes over time as the needs of the relationship change. It helps both parties to get what they want and need from the relationship. It is distinguishable because instead of just asking what each party might want out of the relationship, it is intentionally deciding how each party must show up in order for the alliance to be serving the noble cause it is designed to support.

How is Designing Alliances Relevant to Leaders Today?

In today’s organizations, many leaders miss out on the opportunity to intentionally design alliances because they neglect to create a culture within their organizations that is built on cultivating relationships and brave spaces to have the types of conversations necessary to design an alliance. Authentic relationships and dynamic spaces provide the foundation for a successful and solid framework for how people work together, honor values and keep commitments. It sets the stage for alignment and the option to design alliances to support a shared vision. A designed alliance makes explicit the ways a relationship works, how it feels to be engaged in it, and what needs further alignment. A high-performance organizational culture is one that is aligned. Leaders must be able to demonstrate the core vision that they have created and be somebody by whom people are inspired to work with. Importantly, they need to be aware of what their people need from them to generate these alliances and perform to their highest capacity.

No One Can Do the Work for You, but You Can’t Do it Alone

It may sound simple to pivot from business as usual to designing alliances and having tough conversations. The truth is; it can be simple, but it won’t be easy. The shifting of organizational culture, cultivating trust, and the ability to design alliances well will require internal and external work. Margaret Graziano, Organizational Culture Expert, describes this work in her new book Ignite Culture. She writes,

“Building trust is an ongoing, inside-out job. The first step is to learn to trust yourself. Self-awareness is key. Before trying to help others in your organization, master your own mindset. Be open to continuous self-discovery, personal growth, and change. Being an effective leader of a human system isn’t about regretting the past or worrying about the future. It’s about learning from your mistakes, bringing your highest self to work each day, being fully present, and planning for a future of healthy high performance and growth. Count on setbacks. They’re to be expected. But, if you’re doing the job right, you’re becoming a better human and leader every day. Remember, success isn’t a destination; it’s a journey.”

Journeys can be long and sometimes tedious. It is important to partner with people who have maps and methods that encourage synchronicity and sustainable transformation. Coaches and trainers at KeenAlignment are experts in engaging people where they are and finding the routes on the map that will work best to get them where they need to go.

Visit to book a qualifying call with one of our coaches today and begin designing alliances that serve your highest purpose!

“KeenAlignment's initiatives have provided a framework for our leadership team to work and collaborate together, and facilitate constructive discussion when resolving conflicts. Teamwork is the foundation for everything a business does, and Keen's framework is the basis of this new way we operate and interact with one another. Our team now has a unique and impactful vernacular for our day-to-day communications, as well as systems and tools in place to make sure everyone is on the same page, which is a tremendous benefit. I'm a very pragmatic person, and KeenAlignment's training is very pragmatic in its approach. We had a new team member that joined, and that person wasn't really listening. I was able to coach him on how he's listening, but not actively listening, and that's what is important to me. Keen's programs are implemented in a functional and practical way, and address the entirety of the human condition.”

— Larry Jordan, CEO, Wi-Tronix, Bolingbrook, IL

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To your success, The KeenAlignment Team


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