Aligned Influence

The Effective Governance Model

Achieve your goals, create harmony within your team, and deliver greater value to your organization and stakeholders.


Aligned Influence vs.
Other Governance Models

Transforms Your Organization

The Aligned Influence model moves your leadership from misalignment to clarity and improved effectiveness. At the same time, it elevates your organizational structures and creates harmony between all roles for a complete transformation that occurs within a matter of months versus years.

Creates a Balanced Ecosystem

By truly understanding your organization’s innate and unique functionality, the Aligned Influence model creates an ecosystem of shared goals and objectives. This ecosystem generates vitality, efficiencies, and effectiveness that will give your organization the ability to withstand difficult times and lead to more confident stakeholders. 

Educates You and Your Team

Beyond mere training, we educate you and your team. Education opens the door to deeper conversations that lead to a better understanding of your organization’s desired outcomes and goals. This understanding allows boards and executives to function effectively and with a defined purpose.

Emphasizes People Over Policies

We believe that people, not policies, bring about change and achieve goals within an organization. Policies need to be considered tools that help you achieve your objective, but they are not the answer to your problems. Aligned Influence focuses on and supports the real solution, you and your team.


Who is Leading Your Organization?

Our approach to governance consulting is holistic and people-first. Specifically, we focus much of our attention on defining the unique and complementary roles of BOTH the board and the executive.
Aligning all roles is crucial to succeeding and is, unfortunately, a common barrier for many organizations. That is why we always ask our clients, who is leading your organization? This one question begins a deep conversation that unearths issues that include but are not limited to
  • foundational misunderstandings of the role of governance,
  • competitions for power and influence,
  • conflicting understandings of roles and responsibilities,
  • personality clashes, and
  • differences over the direction and commitments of the organization.
These common issues cost you and your organization time, money, and reputation.
Sadly, other governance models cannot answer such essential questions as: 
  • How does the board influence the organization differently than the chief executive?
  • How do those kinds of influences relate to one another?
  • How are the roles of the board and the executive interdependent but unique?
  • How should their roles fit with, harness, support, and direct the organization’s other influencers?
The Aligned Influence model answers all of these questions by creating three ordered pairs of unique but complementary responsibilities for both the board and the executive.
  • The board directs the organization, and the executive leads it.
  • The board protects the organization, and the executive manages it.
  • The board enables the work of the organization, and the executive accomplishes it.
Not ready to accept a consultation? Check out my book on Amazon. I break down the Aligned Influence model and reveal the formula for governance success in the 21st century.

The Way Forward Begins with Understanding the Ecosystem of Influence.

In nature, an ecosystem is a complex set of relationships between the living things and the nonliving things in a given environment.  A healthy ecosystem is one that usually displays biodiversity, balance, and order between the living and nonliving things in that environment. Each member carries out its function in ways that partake of the environment, sustain it, and enhance its survival and ability to thrive.

The healthier the ecosystem, the greater ability it has to withstand and overcome even severe natural occurrences, such as storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes.

Organizations are a lot like ecosystems. They are a complex set of relationships between the living (employer, employees, board members, executives, customers, clients, and so on) and the nonliving (rules, procedures, policies, plans, furniture, buildings, and so on).

Each living member within the organizational ecosystem has a role to play and responsibilities to carry out and each relates to and is impacted by the nonliving aspects in one way or another.

When members fulfill their functions well, they enhance the organization’s ability to survive and thrive no matter what else occurs in the surrounding environment, such as

    • economic downturns,
    • external and government compliance requirements, and
    • shifts in the marketplace.

Even internal changes, such as

    • board turnover or changes in executive or
    • mid-management leadership.

It all depends on how well an organization’s ecosystem runs, which includes how it is maintained, supported, and directed.

None of today’s governance models take the ecosystem of an organization into account either at all or in any significant way. Policy Governance, for example, focuses on board development only.

An organization with an incomplete or non-existent ecosystem is destined for failure. The good news is that ecosystems within organizations, just like in nature, can be created from the ground up or repaired so that all can thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get Answers

Being "okay" with where you are is great. However, I encourage you to ask yourself why that is. Is it a result of who you currently have in certain positions on the board and in the C-suite or is it the result of a structure that will ensure that your current state exists regardless of who is in those positions? Times of being “okay” are great opportunities to build on situational organizational health and to establish structural organization health.

One of the growing trends in corporate governance is to perceive good compliance as a replacement for good governance.  Governance failures in the latter part of the 20th century invited intervention in the form of legislation which has lured corporations to believe that compliance with these external regulations is evidence of good governance. However, corporate history has proven that many significant governance failures have occurred shortly after the corporation was being lauded for its compliance efforts. By nature, external compliance requirements are general and applied broadly. In the 21st century, corporate governance is being challenged to be stakeholder-focused, and just engaging our attorneys in compliance efforts will do little to engage us with the interests of all stakeholders.

We understand that organizations have to be wise in the way that they spend and invest their resources. Governance development is often perceived as an important but not urgent expenditure….until it becomes urgent. While cost is relative to budgets, our clients tell us that the costs were reasonable and paled to the benefits that they realized. As an example, our most extensive phase of engagement is typically less than $10,000.

The “roadmap” of engagements on the journey to aligned and improved governance includes four stages. The most extensive of those engagements is a two-day retreat with much of the rest of the work being done remotely.

Most of us have bookshelves full of three-ring binders from training we have attended. Truth be told, most of those binders have not been touched since they were put away. The reason why is simple: Training teaches us how to do something, whereas education teaches us why to do something. Aligned Influence is committed to educating our clients, engaging our clients in understanding their own organization in light of that education, guiding them through the development of tools to align the efforts of the board and executive team, and coaching/encouraging them as they implement these new tools and ways of thinking.
Do you have questions about the Aligned Influence model and how it can build effectiveness in your organization that weren’t answered here?

An In-depth Look at the Four Stages of Effective Governance

1. Check Alignment: Is Your Organization Working in Alignment?

Every organization represents an “ecosystem of influence” and this is especially true of organizations that have boards of directors. The key is to understand how well the influence of the board and the influence of the executive are “aligned” in your organization. And, to do that, organizations need to conduct an executive and board assessment. This assessment was proudly developed in cooperation with and is delivered through the survey and data analysis services of New Measures.

The Aligned Influence assessment starts with the all-important question, “Who leads your organization, your board, or your executive?”

For years, we have been evaluating and developing boards and executives in isolation. As a result, both the board and the executive feel like they are doing what they should but often end up further isolated and more misaligned than ever before.

Check Your Alignment is a web-based survey tool that is based on the Aligned Influence® governance model, which identifies three influence roles for the board and three influence roles for the executive. The model aligns the roles by introducing ordered pairs of influence. The paired roles are displayed below.

    • The board directs the organization, and the executive leads it.
    • The board protects the organization, and the executive manages it.
    • The board enables the work of the organization, and the executive accomplishes it.

The survey is a low-cost/high-value first step for organizations that want to get a sense of where they are developmentally and how they can target their organizational development investments.

We analyze and provide our clients with a summary report that reflects the perceptions of an organization’s alignment and then provide strategies to improve that alignment. The engagement includes a facilitated session with an Aligned Influence consultant that will help your team get the most out of the results.

To initiate your Check Alignment engagement and take the executive and board assessment, contact us here.

2. Get Aligned: Is Your Ecosystem of Influence Working to Benefit Your Organization?

Aligning the “ecosystem of influence” in your organization is a very structured, safe, and effective process. The Get Aligned engagement will involve the board of directors, the executive director, and the executive’s team in a series of exploration, document development, and coaching engagements, all designed to better define and align key influencer roles in the organization.

The Get Aligned engagement is where the foundational work of Aligned Influence is implemented. In the past, board members would have engaged in governance training and the executive director and their team would have been sent to leadership development conferences.

In the Get Aligned engagement, the board members and the executive director, and sometimes even some of the executive’s direct reports, engage in a series of organizational development efforts that address both the board’s governing role and the executive’s operational role.

Those efforts are as follows:

Organizational Exploration: The board members and the executive team explore their current roles and alignment.
Policy Development: The board develops its Direct, Protect, and Enable policies. The executive, on the other hand, identifies Leadership and Management policies and outlines the organization’s procedure development needs.
Board Calendar, Agenda, and Document Development: The board creates the tools it needs to keep on track and disciplined within its roles.
Staff Exploration: The staff (and faculty in schools) is engaged in an exploration of the “alignment” work in which the board and the executive team have been involved; everyone in the organization is invited to be part of the alignment process.
Coaching: The chairperson of the board and the executive director participate in a 90-day coaching program to assist in their implementation of the newly aligned roles that have been defined.

Your Get Aligned journey begins with a free consultation. Sign up here

3. Stay Aligned: Is Your Team Invested in the Future Success of Your Organization?

Maintaining the alignment of the “eco-system of influence” in your organization will not happen without ongoing investment and commitment by the key influencers in the organization. The Stay Aligned engagement is designed to be an ongoing, annually renewed engagement that ensures the board and the executive have access to the coaching and consultation services that they need each year.

After going through the foundational Get Aligned engagement, boards and executives still need access to professional services to help them stay aligned and become more effective. Typical uses of the professional service include:

Regularly Scheduled Coaching: Monthly or quarterly calls/meetings with the board chairperson and the executive director.

Event-Based Consultation: Access to just-in-time consultation calls/meetings to help the board and/or the executive director address the inevitable challenges that occur throughout the year.

Annual Board Training and Orientation: Annual training and reeducation to orient new board members to their role and to maintain the discipline of existing board members.

Annual Community Engagement Retreats: Annual conversations between boards and their stakeholders to ensure that they have appropriate context when setting direction for the organization.

*Dedicated executive development engagements are also available and contracted for separately.

If you are interested in initiating an annual Stay Aligned engagement, let us know via our contact form.

4. Drive Effectiveness: How Can You Use Strength-Based Leadership to Benefit Your Organization?

Board members know that their role is to direct, protect, and enable the work of the organization.

Executive directors and their key staff leaders know their role is to lead, manage, and accomplish the work of the organization. Staying disciplined in these roles by using strength-based leadership is the foundation for becoming more effective. Strengths-based leadership development requires an exploration of each person’s strengths, developing strategies to use their strengths, recruiting others who can assist them in areas that are not their strengths, and watching “game films” together over time.

The development of key executive and board team members is a strategic investment for maturing organizations. Ensure that your board and executive have access to the educational and consultation services that they need by attending a painless, ongoing, annually renewed engagement.

To initiate development engagement for one or more of your leaders, please contact us via our contact form.


Build a Foundation to Last Centuries

Lyman Ward Military Academy was confronting the possibility of closing down. After working with Aligned Influence, their organization, now has the foundation to survive and thrive for the next 100 plus years.
Every organization, just like Lyman Ward Military Academy, can benefit from the Aligned Influence governance model.
It might just be the best decision you ever make.
Not ready to accept a consultation? Check out my book on Amazon. I break down the Aligned Influence model and reveal the formula for governance success in the 21st century.
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