I recently witnessed one of the best examples of organizational clarity and alignment on a week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Subsequently, it only affirmed my belief that I should change my residence to somewhere in the tropics. The cruise was fun, the ship was massive, the ports of call were beautiful and the food was fantastic and endless. But that’s not what was most impressive.
 
The crew—absolutely amazing. The operational processes—phenomenal.
 

Your processes are only as good as your people running them

 
With nearly 6,000 passengers onboard, the processes need to be well-designed and incredibly efficient. It’s no small feat. And as far as I could tell…it was flawlessly executed all day, every day. But processes are only as good as the people carrying them out. And there were nearly 1,800 crew members…representing 60 nations. If you’ll pardon the pun, how in the world do you get 1,800 people rowing in the same direction?!
 
It really comes down to what I love helping credit unions and community banks with—organizational clarity and alignment.
 

Your values determine your success

 
The cruise line is very clear about why they are in business: to make absolutely sure that every guest has the best vacation possible. That’s it. That’s their North Star. When you provide that crystal clear clarity to your crew, it makes every job, task, and deliverable simple to understand and execute with accountability.
 
They also have core values, which are nothing more that the expectations of how each employee should behave. Now, all each employee needs to know is “what do I do to help?” Some are cabin stewards, others ensure deck cleanliness, some work in restaurants and bars, while others serve in entertainment and so on.
 
Each guest is impeccably taken care of no matter where they are on the ship or what they are doing. The reason: each crew member knows what to do, how to behave, and most importantly…why they are doing it.
 

You’re aligned when everyone knows what to do and why they are doing it

 
So many companies do not do this well…if at all. You may say, “that sounds too simple.” It is simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Ask yourself if you have provided a level of clarity and alignment that would allow your crew to execute at the highest level. What’s your North Star? And when you answer that question, it’s worth a walk around to your crew members to ask them if they know your North Star—the why, the how, and the what.
 
Creating organizational clarity and alignment will take your credit union or bank to the next level. It’s going to take elbow grease, but putting in the work will ensure you cruise to success rather than drift where the wind takes you.

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