A couple argues about housework: She can’t relax until everything is cleaned up. For him, cleaning is the opposite of relaxing. Who takes care of the laundry and the dishwasher? Who mops, who cooks? She wants to divide the tasks whereas he does not see the need for the tasks.

This is a simple example of a goal conflict that we describe in the book Das Zugvogel-Prinzip{:target=”_blank”} (English edition Birds of a Feather in preparation). Of the four classic types of conflict, the goal conflict is the most common, and it is the one that is most easily managed.

How can conflicting goals be resolved? Taking a vacation together, in the hopes that their roles will be made clear as if by magic, will certainly not help the arguing couple. Likewise, classic team-building exercises in the company do not work because they too only affect the relationship level. The goal conflict arises on the factual level: If team members have different goals in sight, team-building is a waste of time and money.

Conflicting goals can be resolved only on the factual level: By finding common goals and working toward leadership alignment.

The Alignment Incentive in January 2015

The beginning of the year is still a relatively quiet time for many companies. Use this time to look at the teams whose performance was too low last year. Did all team members work toward common goals? Or did conflicting goals contribute to the fact that performance was below expectations?

Leadership Alignment requires both: a common goal and universally accepted criteria to measure successful progress.

Work on establishing and stabilizing both, and an increase in performance is almost inevitable.