The Alignment Canvas Explained​

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The Alignment Canvas Explained

The Process is the Result

The Alignment Canvas is designed not only to document plans and ambitions. It was created to stimulate conversations and discussions.

Teams filling out an Alignment Canvas together will be stimulated to discuss the right topics work towards agreement.

A similar effect happens when teams debate their canvasses with other teams. Discussing expectations and offerings, and adjusting canvasses based on learnings will automatically lead to set of coordinated aspirations and goals.  

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7 Steps to Milk and Honey

The Canvas is set up in such a way that, by following all the steps sequentially, a team will work from thinking strategically, by defining an ambition, all the way down to operational activities. 

The Alignment Canvas
The Seven Steps of the Alignment Canvas

Ambition is The First Step to Success

The first step of the Canvas is to define a spot on the horizon. What is the ultimate goal of your team? When is their work done? In other words, what is their Ambition?

Ambition is a vivid, inspiring description of the desired end-state of what a team is ultimately working towards; it is intended to serve as a guide. When deciding on actions to take, the ambition of a team can help identify the most promising ones.

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Plan The Journey to Success

Once a team defined its longer-term ambition it is time to look at the nearer future.

The Objectives describe the short-term, intermediate, goals the team wants to reach on its way to its ambition. Objectives should be inspiring, qualitative sentences that describe what a team would like to achieve in the near foreseeable future. 

The number of Objectives is limited. Three to four Objectives are more than enough for most teams. Less is more!

Learn more about OKRs here.

Choose Your Companions

Before the team continues shaping its plans, it is time for the to look around. What other groups or individuals are working in the organization that support the team’s objectives? Who are the Beneficiaries? And who will support the team in reaching its goals? Who are the team’s Allies?

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You Get What You Measure

What you measure affects what you do. That’s why objectives need to be made measurable. For each objective, the team should pick some 3 to 5 metrics that best communicate progress on it. Every metric must come with a clear target value. These are the teams Key Results.

Do The Right Things

Goals without a plan are just a wishes. The team needs to make clear how it intents to reach it’s goals by defining clear Tactics. Each objective must come with a plan of attack; the actions the team will take to reach them.

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Keep an Eye on The Dashboard

The biggest risk of setting ambitious goals is not that they will not be reached. The biggest risk is breaking other things in the process.

Health Indicators describe the risks the team is facing on its way towards its aspirations. These are the elements the team should keep an eye on while relentlessly executing on their goals.


Want to Know How to Work With the Canvas?