Last time on this blog we talked about FRAGMENTATION. FRAGMENTATION happens when strategy and intention are not aligned throughout the organization. It’s an insidious force, but it can be fixed if it’s addressed correctly. In the previous blog post, I briefly mentioned the importance of COHESION in fixing FRAGMENTATION. In this post, I’ll go into a bit more detail on COHESION and address another important facet of fixing FRAGMENTATION that works in tandem with COHESION: INTEGRITY.
COHESION concerns what I call CORE agreements
With COHESION, everyone agrees on the five aspects of the CORE PRIME:
- Where are we starting from? (As Is)
- What’s happening around us, whether we can change it or not? (Environment)
- What’s at STAKE if we fail? (Stake)
- Where are we going? (To Be)
- What do we have to do to get there? (Strategy)
All five pieces of the CORE PRIME must be in place and must work together. If any one of these is missing, it won’t work. If there is any disagreement within the organization on one of the five points, it won’t work. It’s all or nothing.
That’s why COHESION is so critical. COHESION concerns the practical factors of setting and achieving goals. It’s pragmatic. It’s grounded in reality. Without agreement on these fundamental points, forward progress in an intentional and aligned way is impossible. COHESION creates the foundation that allows progress towards the shared vision.
INTEGRITY concerns how action is taken
INTEGRITY is when action matches word. When someone says they will do something and then they do it, they’re demonstrating INTEGRITY. INTEGRITY is what builds trust over time. It allows individuals and organizations to achieve extraordinary results.
Acting with INTEGRITY sounds simple – it means doing what you say you’re going to do. But think about how many times you’ve seen someone break a promise. It doesn’t matter what their intentions were, if they meant to break the promise or not. The fact is, their words and actions didn’t match. Now when they give you their word, you don’t know if you can trust it.
COHESION and INTEGRITY together
COHESION and INTEGRITY work so powerfully together to fix FRAGMENTATION because they address the root problems of FRAGMENTATION.
One root cause is lack of shared vision. COHESION addresses this by making sure everyone in the organization is on the same page and agrees on the fundamental facts. When, for instance, half of middle management sees the company going one way, and the other half sees it going another way, there is no working together towards a common goal. Agreement must come first.
Another root cause is lack of trust. It’s difficult to follow someone when you don’t trust them. INTEGRITY allows individuals of all levels to prove their trustworthiness, which in turn encourages COHESION. If, for example, a visionary leader has repeatedly broken their word and has proven that they cannot be trusted, they will have a hard time convincing others to follow them forward, even if they share a compelling vision. Trust must come first.
It is absolutely possible to fix FRAGMENTATION when you have the right strategy. Focus on gaining agreement on the CORE PRIME through COHESION and creating a culture that values INTEGRITY to build trust among individuals. The results will have a lasting impact on your organization.