Step 1: Let’s define brilliant decision making and flawless execution. Brilliant Decision Making: the ability of more than one person to come together and: create solutions, choose one, see it through, observe the results, assess and take appropriate next action.

Step 2a: If the outcome is that which was desired, that’s great! Then move on to the next scenario requiring problem solving with more than one person.

Step 2b: If the outcome is not desired, the parties contributing to the original solution must come back to the table, evaluate/assess/etc., go to next solution and see it through.

Repeat Step 2 until achievement of desired outcome.

Flawless Execution: this is NOT perfection! This is achieving a desired outcome. If your desired outcome is perfection, good luck! I cannot help you. I am human and the people on your team are human. Humans make errors.

If your desired outcome was to be number one in market share in your industry, this is actually achievable. It is not presumed perfection! For example, you could have 25 percent of the market and the next company in line could have 18 percent of the share. Twenty-five percent is far from perfect, yet it is being number one in your market.

Alignment starts from the very tippy toes top of the organization (CEO/owner/president) and flows the path of gravity. If the CEO does not reinforce the strategy and desired outcomes in a consistent and congruent fashion, those that follow this leader cannot execute. Communication confusion can only occur and create barriers to flawless execution. And, if this leader doesn’t communicate thoroughly, people will assume they know what the leader meant. (Leaders, a little secret for you: mind-reading is extinct in the school system; it went the way of Latin as an elective.)

Depending on what the top of the organization desires, it is possible that there are people in the organization that cannot align. There are many reasons: philosophical, personal, and possibly an individual is simply not “wired” to align.

For example, a manufacturing company needs detail-oriented, methodical thinking individuals in their quality control department. They have an individual that is a generalist, big picture guy and disorganized. Though this person is great for the culture, upbeat, engaging, the 80/20 of the job is quality, finding irregularities in product manufactured. This person naturally cannot stay focused or stare at product most of the day looking for defects.

As a leader, hopefully you will recognize this situation and move the individual to a more appropriate role within the company. You don’t want to lose knowledge, experience within the company if you can help it.

If the leader is congruent in approach to strategic and heart felt desires, then the key results starting at the top are just as clear. These key results need to be passed on to each level of the organization and applied in fashion relevant to that level/team.

Without clear key results to pursue that are relevant to the individual at their respective level, you leave it up to the individual to determine what the key results are. That creates a better chance for misalignment resulting in desired outcomes not being achieved.

The information above is all great stuff. It doesn’t start after you hire individuals into the organization. This is called “hiring and hoping.” The process of alignment begins with those you hire. You get the “feel” for the alignment during the interview process.

You may like the person, their resume may shout “exact skills/experience,” but the conversation during the interview tells you something else. Probe deeply and get your team of probers to dig into the candidate’s truest motivations and beliefs. Once you hire, most companies feel compelled to keep the individual for at least eight months to two years. That’s a lot of investment with no return or less than no return when you later learn the candidate is not the right fit.

Know what your cultural beliefs/core beliefs are so that during interviews you are asking questions relevant to your beliefs and what you want.

If you’re not sure what they are, precisely, then commence activity that gets you clear about your beliefs. Then work on getting these beliefs messaged through the organization. The most effective way is through evangelists within the organization evangelizing. Email blasts and posts won’t cut it. There must be face-to-face time, direct communication person-to-person. Get these evangelists aligned to get the team aligned.

The choice is yours!

Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates. He is a business visionary who guides organizations through cultural shifts and getting people aligned to strategic outcomes. Reach Stuart via email: stuart@pma-co.com