“The cross-cultural business environment is creating a fundamental mind shift: The 'soft' side of business (culture, people, teamwork, etc.) is turning out to be a very 'hard' element in creating business success,” writes Aad Boot, author of the Leadership Watch blog. “Mastering the essence of people alignment is a crucial competence for today’s leaders.”

What differentiates leaders who master the essence of people alignment? “First of all,” Boot says, “they do not perceive creating people alignment as an activity next to all the other leadership activities, but it is on their mind in everything they do.”

But even leaders who prioritize people alignment often fail to execute. Boot noted two primary reasons for this:

1. Believing that people alignment can be left to middle management.
“I regularly come across CEOs who feel they’re so busy, or their company so under pressure, that they have to focus on defining strategy and priorities and can [therefore] delegate the execution and creation of alignment to their management.”

2. Believing that alignment is like fixing a broken computer.
“When people are not performing well, you pay attention, and you fix it. When it’s fixed, you [think you] can move on to other tasks. Successful CEOs understand that people alignment is much more fundamental and ongoing. They actively monitor people alignment, like taking the temperature of the body.”

This article originally appeared at The Build Network.

Published on: Feb 6, 2014