Secret #42: It’s All About Alignment


Excerpted from Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4:
A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business

One of the things that appeals to us so much about anarchist thinking is the strongly held belief that the means we use to achieve something must be congruent with the ends that we want to achieve. Gustav Landauer writes, “a goal can only be reached if it is already reflected in its means.” Although it’s hardly the first thing most of the world thinks of when you mention the word anarchist, it’s at the core of almost all anarchist approaches. In Alexander Berkman’s view, “Means and aims are in reality the same: you cannot separate them. It is the means that shape your ends. The means are the seeds which bud into a flower and come to fruition. The fruit will always be of the nature of the seed you planted.”
Quite simply, the more things are in alignment, the more effectively they’re going to work. It’s true in nature, it’s true in our bodies, and it’s true in our organizations. We won’t produce high-quality products if we don’t buy high-quality ingredients. We won’t grow grounded collaborative staff by grinding them into the ground. We won’t get caring customer service by treating staff with severity. As Voltairine de Cleyre asks, “Did the seed of tyranny ever bear good fruit?”

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