Looking at the lay of the land within organizations it seems that the most sought after and enviable roles are those of the C-Suite. If you are unfamiliar with the term C-Suite, it is a term (I am sure created by it’s members) to describe their significance and importance – the roles typically include C.E.O, C.F.O, C.O.O, C.C.O, and C.A.O.

Why would you not want any of these roles? Looking at the North American business model, it is the C-Suite roles that make disproportionately more money than anyone else within the organization AND receive generous bonuses even when they are dismissed for (enter corporate scandal here). It’s a great job…full pay and no accountability!

But I digress!

Last week I had my regular monthly chiropractic visit for a quick adjustment and realignment. This time it was my left hip and lower back that needed attention. Twenty minutes later, I was straight as an arrow and feeling great. The spring was back in my step. Look out world here I come.

I maintain a monthly visit for two reasons.

  1. I inadvertently become misalignment by unconsciously sitting the wrong way for a length of time, or perhaps bending incorrectly. Before I know it, I am not right…it sneaks up on me.
  2. I intentionally do something I know may cause misalignment. For example, playing softball for the first time in a year and thinking I am still 18. I know I should be more mindful but instead I throw all caution to the wind and end up in an Epsom salt bath before my visit to the chiropractor.

So what does my visit to the chiropractor have to do with business and C-Suites? It got me thinking about what chiropractors do. They focus on maintaining the structural integrity of the intimate relationship between the nervous system (responsible for sending, receiving and processing messages throughout the entire body) and the spine (providing a movable support structure while also protecting the spinal cord-nervous tissue).

The success of any chiropractor is reliant on the relationship with their client. If the chiropractor is capable, he/she will be rewarded with customer loyalty and referrals. If the chiropractor does not maintain the structural integrity between your nervous system and your spine, then he/she will suffer lost revenue, and a bad reputation. In this way, the chiropractor is 100% accountable for his/her actions.

And this was my ah-ha moment! Businesses are just like the human body.  In a  business, the nervous system is the ability of the C-Suite to consistently honour, live and uphold the company’s vision and values, and the spine is the many different departments and functions that are required to move together to support and protect the company’s vision/values.

And similar to the human body, a business can become easily misaligned by actions that are either (1) deliberate with intent or (2) unconsciously consistent. Typically, it is the role of the C-Suite to ensure the organization stays the course yet ironically it is the C-Suite who deliberately act in ways that do not match their words because they move from greater good to self-preservation. I understand this is a huge stereotype, and that I am broad stroking all individuals that occupy the C-Suite. Clearly I am exaggerating for effect…. however, have you watched the news lately?

Whose role is to ensure that everyone in the organization is aligned and that all actions taken match the words being spoken? Whose job is solely accountable to ensure the grand vision is consistently executed by all departments? Whose job is directly correlated to performance…you know, if you succeed then you keep your job and salary, if you fail you get walked out with only the personal items you came in with (no bonus).

There is no such role. In fact the most important role in an organization does not exist today. I propose a new be created. It can have its own “suite”, the A-Suite. There is only one role within the A-Suite and that role is the Alignment Officer or the A.O.  I recommend we drop the title “chief” as I feel there may be too many “chiefs” anyway.

A.O.I will even go one step further and provide a job description for the A.O.

  • To ensure the organization vision and values are consistently honoured and lived by aligning the actions and the words of each person, each team, each department and the organization as a whole.

The most effective way to build TRUST within an organization is by creating alignment. Research has shown when measuring engagement, the common measure across all studies is TRUST. Highly performing teams, are HIGH TRUST teams. Companies with high trust teams produce three times the profit .

What is your current team trust level? Are you aligned? Are you ready to add an A.O. to your team?