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67% of strategic plans fail, 90% of executives fail to meet their goals, and only 38% of leaders say they’re doing their best work (1)

So, why do some businesses succeed and thrive, and others fail and founder?

In session four of our Emerging Leaders Program, facilitator Kylee Stone read out some factors suggested by program participants: clear goals and vision, misalignment, culture, direction, looking after your staff, attrition, too many projects, no accountability, knowing your “why”, Level 5 leaders, inspiring leadership, lack of contingency plans…

While all are important, strategic alignment makes the difference, says Kylee.

Below we’ll share our learnings on What is strategic alignment? What are 4 steps to alignment? and Kylee’s suggested questions and actions to take the learning further. 


Firstly, what is the Emerging Leaders Program?

More than 1100 delegates are booked into the program, which is for emerging leaders, high potentials, early- to mid-career professionals, and early stage entrepreneurs.

It is a live virtual program that runs weekly for seven weeks (read Module 1 and Module 2 summaries), and includes membership of Growth Faculty, which gives participants automatic access to the replay of the livestream of Atomic Habits – James Clear LIVE, and includes:

·       Mindfulness, Emotional Agility & Resilience session (Emerging Leaders Program) on Wednesday, September 27

·       Design Your Habits for Success masterclass on Tuesday, October 10

·       Plus other live virtual events from Growth Faculty’s members’ program.

Facilitator is leadership coach and CEO of The Performance Code Kylee Stone (see bio at the end of this article).

(Note: Coming soon: Senior Leadership Program: ‘The Formula for Business Excellence’ with John Spence beginning October 11)


What is strategic alignment?

Kylee says strategic alignment is your ability to be effective in getting from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, in the simplest way possible. Strategic alignment comprises:

·       strategy development

·       planning

·       execution (doing it)

In other words, to act in alignment is to think and act in congruence (i.e. harmony) with a commitment (the plan). It helps to break it down into “the 4 As”, says Kylee.

4 Steps to Alignment: The A Game

To act in alignment starts with:

Attention: What is your attention on? Start with being clear about your goals.

Action: Making sure you’re pursuing action that take you towards your goals.

Acknowledgement: We don’t give ourselves credit for the small wins, so make sure you acknowledge any results that are in line with the goals.

Accountability: Make sure that your thoughts and your actions are congruent towards the goals (no conflict between your thoughts and your goals). An example of being in conflict might be gunning it for career success while wanting to spend more time with family.

Kylee says that in indigenous culture the saying is: knowing to being to doing. Knowing doesn’t make the difference, and might make zero difference. The key is the being and doing.

Below we take a closer look at each of “The 4 As.” Firstly, though, let’s understand where you need to improve. 

3 Areas Where You Can Improve Your Alignment

What is one area of your leadership that you can improve on for your alignment? Choose from:

·       EFFECTIVENESS There’s a gap between what you say you want and the actual result you are producing. You are not currently effective in producing the result you are committed to.

·       PRODUCTIVITY There’s a project that’s taking you longer to complete than expected. You are either avoiding it, delaying it, tolerating it or procrastinating about it.

·       GROWTH You are reliable for producing results and you’re looking to do something new or different. You are ready to take your performance to the next level.

TASK: What is the issue/challenge you are facing? What is your goal/vision (teleport yourself into the future and write down what you would like to see)?


A leader is someone who leads and others follow (a role model). Leadership is about influencing others to take action toward a desired outcomes.

When you clearly see your vision, your purpose, and your values then natural leadership arises and it is easier to create a meaningful connection with others.

·       VISION. Where are you heading – what is the desired outcome? Write down your organisation’s vision. Example: Create a better everyday life for people.

·       PURPOSE: Why does your organisation exist? Example: Unleash the power in every team.

·       VALUES: What are the 3 core guiding beliefs, principles, in your organisation. Write your top 3 values. Example: Creativity, growth, and innovation.

Kylee asked participants: What are you aiming to achieve as a leader? What does success look like to you? Notice your thoughts, feelings or emotions. What is your mission? (Example: “My mission is a 3% improvement in performance”) What does success look like when you’ve accomplished your goal?


Procrastination comes from confusing motivation with action. However, putting action first kickstarts motivation! Motivation is not the “special sauce” to get others to take action. Action drives the motivation.

What stops you from taking action?

Participants shared that it included: procrastination, overwhelm, others’ opinions of me, workload, doing the wrong thing, indecisiveness, distractions, waiting for feedback, being unconvinced that the actions would make any difference, lack of confidence, and fear.

Fear – The Universal Challenge

Kylee says fear is the natural human reaction where the “monkey brain” goes into survival mode as a response to the external environment. We fear scarcity (not enough to go around) and we crave connection (to be loved and loving). To make fear our “friend”, Kylee suggests we take SMART action.


S  - Stop Generalising, Get Specific

M – Create Measurable Moments

A – Make It Achievable Not Admirable

R – Be Realistic Not Optimistic

T – Take The Action



Acknowledgement is about gratitude, truth-telling, being generous, and acknowledging the situation. Kylee shared 3 aspects of acknowledgment: 

·       Acknowledge what is so – acknowledge that there is something that others are dealing with before/as they arrive at work.

·       Acknowledging others – people want to be known, heard, and appreciated.

·       Ackowledging yourself – acknowledging yourself is simultaneously the simplest and the most difficult thing you can do.


·       Write down three things you’ve accomplished that you are proud of.

·       Write down three things you are grateful for

·       Write down three messages of gratitude and appreciation that you could send to your current leader, a previous leader or any other leader that inspires you.


Accountability is about agreements with ourselves and with each other. It’s about being proactive in distinguishing what’s working and not working. (See also: How to Create a Culture of Accountability).

Practices checklist:

·       Get clear on goals, actions, and expectations.

·       Schedule everything and review weekly.

·       Be proactive. Do not put off, tolerate, or avoid talking about challenges/opportunities.

·       Debrief and ask for feedback.

·       Play to your strengths. (Kylee recommends “Good to Great” by Jim Collins).

·       Get a mentor or accountability buddy.


·       What does accountability mean to you?

·       What is the difference between accountability and responsibility?

·       Why is creating a culture of accountability important?

·       Write down 5 examples of how you could be a role model of accountability at work.

·       What is one action you are committed to taking to build a habit of accountability?


Kylee asked participants to reflect on their learnings from the session.

What did you learn or discover newly that will contribute to you taking the next step in your leadership journey and move you closer to your goals?

What actions are you committed to taking to help you deepen your understanding and application of today's key concepts (leadership, values and vision)?

About Kylee Stone


Kylee is descendant of the stolen generations of the Wakka Wakka and Kulluli nations. She is CEO of The Performance Code, is a highly regarded leadership coach, and she has proven results as an entrepreneurial leader in her own right with decades of experience in the business of storytelling, Marketing, Strategy and Leadership Transformation.


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Our Emerging Leaders Program participants automatically receive Growth Faculty membership - and this means you have unlimited access to our live virtual events PLUS discounts to our in-person events. Next up is ADAM GRANT LIVE on WorkLife Reimagined in Melbourne and Sydney in February 2024. Tickets selling fast (VIP SOLD OUT) so book now!

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  1. Kylee Stone Masterclass, naming sources as Harvard Business Review: Economist Intellignce Unit; McKinsey & Co; NextGenify respectively. 


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