The Inner Workings of Creating Alignment

January 31, 2024 | 
2 minute read

This month, we at THRIVE IMPACT facilitated a workshop for a well-known community foundation. The goal seemed simple: to help staff and board align on what had been accomplished last year and invite folks to imagine the future. Of course, nothing is simple, particularly when an organization is large and a lot is going on, as was the case here. 

We started by helping folks get the data together in relation to the goals they had set. Using this data, we created progress charts to help people digest the information more easily. These charts included a high-level overview of each department, the average percent progress of goals for the key areas, and deep dive charts that unpacked and showed progress for each area separately. 

High-level Overview Chart Example

Deep Dive Chart Example

We then asked each department to share three key things: 1) a disappointment or sorrow, 2) a shift they had made, and 3) a win or celebration. 

This cycle of rapid learning and sharing engaged the entire staff and board in a fast-paced, energetic experience that had a significant impact. 

On the whole, people enjoyed the experience. The average rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, was 8. 

In addition, the workshop helped participants learn more about the organization’s strengths…

…and areas of opportunity. 

Here are a few thoughts participants shared:

  • “I’d love to bring this kind of structure to our board meetings.”
  • “I love how the board got a window into the incredible amount of work being done by all the departments.”
  • “It was structured to support non-verbal learners/participants.”
  • “Best planning session ever attended!”

It is important to note that while most participants took away important learnings and had a good experience, that wasn’t true for all participants. 

Here are some of our areas of opportunity and learning from this workshop:

  • “Giving folks more lead time to review materials.”
  • “Getting more concise and clear with instructions”
  • “Continuing to improve our enrollment so we can help everyone understand what we are doing and why, which creates buy-in.”

Often times, in generating alignment, we default to the standard, to the written, the verbal, and to learning in silos, but in doing so, we often exclude the voices we most need to hear–and fail to benefit from the wisdom that comes from all the voices learning together. 

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