within an organization, what you have is not always aligned to what you want. you have your people, and you have your strategy. over time, a lot of forces exert their influence on your organization, constantly pushing and pulling your organization in multiple directions simultaneously. current members leave, new members arrive, and your culture shifts under your feet causing tension with where your people are and where you want your organization to be.
one of the most challenging jobs of any leader in an organization is aligning what you have to what you want. it’s perhaps most visible in the world of college athletics. because of the various rules in place, new coaches take over programs and essentially have what they have. there’s no opportunity for trades or transfers and even recruiting in the first year is often difficult. therefore, the players might not match the style or system of the new coach and yet winning is still expected.
coaches address this challenge by maintaining a clear vision of the future and knowing, ultimately, where they want their organization to go. this vision drives their recruiting and development efforts. however, that vision of the future doesn’t prevent changes in strategy. coaches who don’t have a mobile quarterback in football or an outside shooter in basketball tailor their systems to work with the players they currently have until they can recruit the kind of players they want.
in all our organizations—from sports to banking to manufacturing—we have to remember that what we have and what we want don’t always align. it’s up to us as leaders to define that vision for the future, but just as important, we have to be relentlessly devoted towards getting there. making adjustments to the work we do to better align to the skills of our current talent pool, actively removing members of our organizations who don’t align to our vision of the future, increasing learning opportunities for, and investing in, the members we want to keep within our organization—they’re all the kinds of tough choices we must make if we want to find that organizational alignment and get where we want our organization to be.