Healthy Organizations are Aligned AND Attuned

Roger Harrison is a recognized leader and author in organizational and cultural development. He has articulated that healthy organizations are both aligned and attuned.

  • Alignment: Alignment refers to the deep commitment to the mission and identity of the organization. If a team is aligned, they are moving in the same direction and rallying around the same mission. When there is alignment, there is a clear and overarching agenda that grabs the energy and focus of the people.
  • Attunement: Attunement refers to the relational care and concern that the team exhibits for one another. If a team is attuned, they genuinely care for and enjoy each other. When there is attunement, people sense they are valued and not only their contribution.

According to Harrison, if you are a leader you must care about both alignment and attunement. You don’t have to, nor should you, choose between the two. In fact if either is missing, the people and the mission suffer.

Alignment without attunement results in a team that is very focused, but also very rigid. While a lot is accomplished, over time people feel used. While they may have initially been attracted to a “mission bigger than themselves, people will soon feel like pawns in this thing that is “bigger than us.”

Attunement without alignment results in people who enjoy each other and care for each other but don’t accomplish much. Without alignment around mission, an organization begins to exist for itself. In time, the relationships they love disappear anyway because a team not aligned around a clear mission won’t last.

Alignment and attunement together is very powerful. When the two coexist, the group is focused on the mission and cares for one another as they fulfill their mission. Healthy and effective teams don’t segment “mission” and “care” into disparate buckets that must be dealt with. Instead they are simultaneously, at all times, focused on the mission and caring for one another.

A healthy team is both aligned and attuned. An overarching mission has grabbed the collective energy of the team and all actions and activity is aligned to the mission. At the same time, the team cares for one another. On a healthy team people are valued for who they are, not just what they contribute. Alignment and attunement… don’t settle for just one.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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