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The 12 Alignments

Our orientation framework for organizational design and development – Your path to sustainable growth

Many organizations start to broaden their horizon: they go beyond their premier goal of profit maximization and further include the needs of our natural environment as well as fundamental human needs of meaning, belonging and appreciation.

The 12 Alignments can be used as a compass for leaders to navigate their organizations through disruptive change and to recalibrate them towards sustainable long-term growth.
The 12 Alignments are a consistent method to diagnose the organization – like a scanner – to uncover blind spots.

What are the 12 Alignments about?

  • The model provides a clearer picture by reducing complexity without over-simplifying reality.
  • It allows for integrated, systemic thinking and helps organizations to be built on a sound purpose and develop offerings that meet true needs of stakeholders.
  • It provides orientation and serves as a framework for action to further develop the organization towards unleashing its full potential.
  • The 12 Alignments is a model which helps recalibrating the organization in order to be resilient in a dynamic environment.

What can I do with the 12 Alignments?

  • The 12 Alignments is a model for problem-solving. Issues are identified and allocated to the respective „Alignment Sphere“. Thus, leaders create a map of ‚misalignments‘ showing the root causes of the issues along with their interdependencies. This map also gives insights into solution paths and helps prioritizing the implementation of solutions.
  • Switching aggregation levels means zooming in an out. It leads to new perspectives. Hence, new solutions become visible.
  • Broadening horizons: Organizational members can see issues related to their scope of activities in an extended context. This enables them to identify conflict areas or misalignments they have not seen before. As the Alignment Spheres are derived from an integrative approach, they promote the development of new and creative solutions.

Which symptoms can the 12 Alignments address?

  • “Allergic reactions“ against keywords such as ‘change’, ‘strategy’, and ‘leadership’
  • Surge of contradictory information from different sources within the organization
  • Procrastination of decisions or no decisions at all
  • Endless discussions with no visible results
  • Frequent shift of responsibilities
  • Teams or units working against each other
  • Attitude of  “additional processes and KPIs can fix all problems“
  • Increasing number of (unplanned) meetings
  • Growing inner resistance to go to work

How does a 12 Alignments organization look like?

  • More and more organizational members can answer the question „Why does this organization exist?“
  • Friendly faces and frequent laughter
  • Dedicated employees initiating action towards positive change
  • Growing number of ideas on new projects and offerings across ranks and files
  • Openness to share failures/worst practices as a basis for continuous learning
  • People from different hierarchy levels and units have lunch together
  • Willingness to join cross-functional and cross-regional teams
  • Calm attitude towards unexpected changes
  • Action-oriented leaders who take decisions fast and are open to trial and error
  • Frequent praise across ranks and files

What's the first step?

We identify areas of imbalances, typically in a 1-day-workshop called „Health Check“ with the core management team or other key stakeholders. Together, we go through each Alignment Sphere and analyze them with regard to inherent ‚health issues‘ or imbalances. After the workshop, the participants decide which misalignments should be tackled first. Depending on the type of misalignment we support the organization with the development and implementation of adequate measures. The subsequent alignment process is called „Vitality Path“.

What timeframe is needed?

Alignment processes depend on the organizational members’ openness towards change and the willingness of the top management to walk the talk. With clarity on goals, awareness and self-discipline on the side of the persons driving change („Activators“) the transformation process can be accelerated. Depending on the size of the organization, the teams, and the degree of misalignments the transformation process can take between 6 and 24 months.

What's in for you?

With the 12 Alignments model you can practice an integrative way of thinking and feeling. The frequent use of the model leads to more consciousness about your inner strengths. This provides inner stability, openness towards change, and the ability to use it in a creative way.


Prof. Dr. Kathrin Köster