Awareness vs. Alignment

I am, actually now used to be, a big fan of the word “Alignment”. Having worked in the tech industry in management roles for over a decade now, I concluded that alignment was the key in each organization I have worked for. This changed recently.

I was doing research about change management and came across a framework called ADKAR. It starts with awareness. Awareness is the key to driving desire, finding out knowledge, getting your people able to change, and with reinforcement cycles keep change going. It nowhere mentions alignment, just uses awareness.

Here is the thing, alignment is hard. Coming to the realization that in none of the companies I have been to, there was no 100% alignment, maybe 80% at max. But how does it compare to awareness?

Let’s say one of the processes is not functional for you but works for others. Alignment is others accepting that and agreeing that it may need a change. This is rare, at most what you get is the reaction of “I don’t see what your problem is, works for us?” attitude. Awareness is seeing others that you are suffering and what kind of discomfort it may cause for you. They are simply acknowledging and seeing you having pain, but yet not aligned about the change.

There is a lot of way between awareness to alignment. Creating awareness should be the first step to reaching alignment. It is a long way to go, but in the end, if you start with the goal of aligning, failure may not be inevitable. Yet, if you start small and create awareness around the problem, there may be a high desire for change and that is the key.

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