Alignment: What’s In It For Me?

By now, you may have heard about the Jet Blue experiment, the gist of which was… on a recent flight, they gave away a free ticket to anywhere Jet Blue flies, as along as everyone on the plane agreed on the destination.

Frankly I was surprised to learn that the passengers all agreed and tickets were given away; after all it is a random group of people with different travel experiences and desires. Upon reflection, I realized that what happened was every single person on the plane was willing to give up something to get something. While it might appear that it was, sacrifice for the greater good, what was really taking place was sacrifice for self-interest.

It caused me to wonder how leaders might apply this same social experiment to gaining alignment in their companies. Here are my wonderings:

  • Are leaders who clearly articulate their vision offering a similar choice of destination?
  • If a leader also offers the actions that go with the vision, is this the ticket?
  • When the leader articulates, what is in it for each person, individually, is that the route to alignment?
  • Has the Jet Blue experiment demonstrated the true definition of alignment? Is it simply I am willing to give up something to get something, and if that something is the same for all of us, we have alignment?

The challenge, of course, is getting all this down to a simple statement of the end game and what each participant must do to get there.

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain