Before taking any automatic action, you should consult with someone who can give you a different perspective.
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This is the final installment in an exclusive series of articles by Total Alignment authors Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem entitled "The Alignment Factor". Thank you for reading and happy holidays.
There is an immense force in a simple concept that connects and unifies people's thinking and actions in order to arrive at a line of action that benefits everyone. This concept is a consultation or exchange of views that merges into a plan for forward action. an exploration of new insights or knowledge; a reassessment of priorities; or the achievement of unity of sight.
When is advice necessary? By and large, the answer is always. In other words, consult before you act. Advice is necessary in all situations. Think of any circumstances under which you would like to know what to do. Before taking any automatic action, you should consult with someone who can give you a different perspective. You can consult with your parents, your spouse, your children, your co-workers or your boss. After consulting it, you can still determine that the originally intended action is the right one. No harm is done. The consultation has made the presumption a certainty.
Related: & # 39; The Alignment Factor & # 39 ;: Decision making and the culture of alignment
The consultation process
Counseling is a process of finding the best way and there are several guidelines. First, decide on your topic. In other words, what you want to learn, what you want to do or not do, what problem you want to solve, what problem you want to get to the bottom of.
Once you have selected the topic for consultation, it is important to identify the right people to seek advice from. The right people are the ones who can give you the best information (subject matter experts); those who have the most relevant experience; and those whose lives will be affected by your choice.
When you meet and consider the subject for consultation, begin with a fact-gathering exercise. This can be as simple as saying, "Let's take a step back and look at the circumstances. What happened that made this issue important or relevant?" Or a step may be required to gather information. Real counseling begins with a review of the full and accurate facts. Make sure the source of information is reliable. This is a prerequisite for finding the best way forward. The advice loses its power if this step is skipped.
The next step is to invite the participants in your group to an open and frank discussion. We have found that simple basic rules for consultation enable this group to make valuable contributions and to reach the best possible conclusions. Here are some recommended basic rules:
Everyone is encouraged to participate. Listen to understand, not answer. Don't interrupt. Do not suppress your contribution based on hierarchies. No verbal or body notes. There are no bad ideas. It's okay to build on other people's ideas. Be fully present (laptops closed and phones silenced). Offer your opinion, but don't insist. Be detached from your own agenda.
An open and open consultation on the matter reveals promising ideas that grow through the group's contributions and eventually find the best way forward. This path should be clearly stated.
Who makes the decision?
The result of the consultation process is fed into a decision. Who makes the decision depends on the type of decision. In the article "Decision Making and the Culture of Alignment" we described four types of decisions: command, advice, consensus, and delegation. If you have chosen the consultation type, make the decision based on the input received. If the decision is to be of the consensus type, the group makes the decision. Whichever type is used, the decision should be clearly recorded and communicated.
Advice is the driving force behind alignment
The culture of alignment thrives on consultation. In a focused organization, solo actions are generally not the best way to move forward. The consultation could have provided a better solution. Acting solo leaves out those who have an indispensable influence and adds to the silo mentality that leads to misalignments.
The culture of alignment enables and promotes a variety of ideas. This does not mean the meeting of personalities, arguments, gossip and dejection. The guidelines for breaking away from one's own ideas and personal agendas are aimed at creating a culture in which participants seek the truth, regardless of how it might affect them personally.
Related: & # 39; The Alignment Factor & # 39 ;: Manage the present but focus on the future
Counseling plays a crucial role in creating this culture in the organization and in motivating the workforce to work together across functions (horizontal focus) and at all levels of the organization (vertical focus). Indeed, advice is the driving force behind the alignment.