“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” – Rudyard Kipling

In a recent blog, Forrester Principal Analyst James McQuivey, argued that calls for alignment generally come from powerful parties looking to control weaker organizations.  Alignment is presented as a Machiavellian call for submission by a leader who is stronger or believes that he or she can out-negotiate his or her peers.  McQuivey calls alignment a wolf in sheep’s clothing:

When someone invites you to be aligned with them, they think they are saying, “let’s be on the same side,” “let’s have a shared perspective,” or “let’s not seem like we’re in disagreement here.” All of those meanings sound good — we are teammates, we collaborate, we know how to work across silos! But none of them are what people really mean when, in an interdepartmental meeting someone says, “We need to make sure that we’re in alignment on this.”

What they truly mean is, “I’ve listened to you blather on long enough. You are wrong and I am right and you need to start pretending that you agree with me or we’re going to have real problems here.”

Michael Levy
About the Author
Michael R. Levy, former Manager of Strategy and Competitive Intelligence of Infogroup, is the principal of GZ Consulting, a US market research and competitive intelligence consulting firm. He focuses on information services including sales intelligence, CRM, data hygiene, and marketing automation. Michael is also the author of "2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors".

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