Agreement and Alignment

By Shae Hadden

In a recent conversation with my sisters, I was reminded that people
don’t necessarily have to agree with the how, why or when of a
particular possibility. But they do have to be aligned on the ‘who’ and
the ‘what’ in order to move forward together—and the ‘who’ has to
include a commitment from each person involved to the possibility of
the ‘what’. In fact, disagreeing with the specifics of how to create a
possibility adds value to the conversation and can inform and, in many
cases, contribute to the success of the venture—whether it is the
creation of something intangible (like a relationship) or tangible
(like a product, project or organization).

most, agreement occurs when one person surrenders their point of view
to accept another point of view. Essentially, one perspective wins, the
other loses, within the context of agreement. An example: in
negotiations, the struggle for power is a struggle between perspectives
that has the winner take the dominant position at the head of the
table. Agreement is an either/or proposition. It does not allow space
for collaboration, respect or trust.

Alignment, on the other
hand, occurs when everyone involved in the conversation not only
acknowledges each other’s point of view, but also commits to creating a
possibility that can include all perspectives. All win in the context
of alignment and everyone is respected for how they ‘see’ things. The
essence of co-collaboration happens when a group of people create a
vision of something that doesn’t exist yet and then align themselves in
committing to it as a possibility.

We are, for the most part,
taught to believe that agreement is to be reached before we can move
into action. Yet, my experience has been that, once people are aligned
in their commitments, they can move forward into action without knowing
the details of how they are going to fulfill their vision. The real power in alignment is in the freedom it gives us to move into action, whether we agree or not.

I enjoyed the last few hours of my family visit, my commitment to
reconnecting with and understanding who my sisters have become aligned
with their unspoken, yet obvious commitment to let me see them as they
are today. I am amazed and grateful for the opportunity to be with them
again and, whether we agree or not on specific issues, I will always be
aligned with their commitment to have a relationship with me.

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