Alignment & Autonomy

2-40 people

The purpose of this workshop is to aid your business and teams in becoming more agile and flexible while also maximizing alignment and autonomy. This will allow your teams to adapt to change more easily and achieve better results at a faster pace. By attending this workshop, you can learn how to foster a collaborative and committed culture for yourself and your colleagues. The workshop is based on Peter Smith's Alignment & Autonomy model, which is also known as Alignment & Personal Responsibility.

Workshop steps


BEFORE THE WORKSHOP: First, ensure your team has a well-defined purpose, culture, and working routines. If not, use the Purpose & Culture or Point of Departure tools before conducting this workshop. Before starting the workshop, familiarize yourself with the framework and define 3 key aspects: 1. Determine the acceptable level of autonomy for your team. 2. Alignment: Identify what you want each team member to align around, such as your organization's goals, purpose, culture, mission, vision, strategies, agreements, etc. 3. Personal Responsibility/Autonomy: Clarify what it means for each team member to take personal responsibility, including following through on tasks, agreements, and adhering to agreed processes (check-ins, feedback, reflection, communication, self-directed, taking ownership, being curious). Create the Alignment & Autonomy model on a flip chart before the workshop (refer to the video, label the "y" axis as Alignment, and the "x" axis as Personal Responsibility, marking High and Low on each axis). If you're not the team's formal leader, discuss these parameters with the appropriate leader. This crucial step sets the framework for the workshop and any resulting decisions. Once you've defined the parameters for alignment and personal responsibility/autonomy, you're ready to gather your team for the workshop.


Discuss Peter Smith's Alignment & Autonomy framework. Helpful Resources: Read this detailed article about the framework. For a brief introduction, watch this 1-minute video by Spotify agile coach Henrik Kniberg. For more context, view this 13-minute video. Suggestions: Ask participants to read the mentioned article and/or watch the provided video(s) beforehand.


Gather your team to review and discuss the team's performance over the past 3-6 months. A. Together, you will now enhance the model by considering moments when the team experienced: 1. High Alignment, High Personal Responsibility (aim for this: Innovative Organization, Collaborative & Committed Culture) 2. High Alignment, Low Personal Responsibility (Authoritative Organization, Conformist Culture) 3. Low Alignment, Low Personal Responsibility (Micromanaging Organization, Indifferent Culture) 4. Low Alignment, High Personal Responsibility (Internally Competitive Organization/Entrepreneurial, Chaotic Culture) B. For each quadrant mentioned above, discuss the following: - What were you and others saying? - What were you and others doing? - How did you feel? - How do you think others felt? C. Record the perspectives for each quadrant on a flip chart or digitally.


Request the team members to individually ponder over these questions: 1. What obstacles are preventing my alignment? 2. How can I better align with the team's objectives and goals? 3. Are there any barriers to me taking personal responsibility? 4. What steps can I take to assume more personal responsibility (autonomy)? Encourage participants to be as candid and specific as they feel at ease with. Urge them to pinpoint their obstacles and supportive factors. Invite them to share their thoughts one-by-one with the rest of the team. After everyone has shared, address any misconceptions or misinterpretations that may have arisen. Make sure to clarify the extent of autonomy that is feasible.


In conclusion, based on the previous step's discussion, encourage the team to propose specific actions to enhance alignment and autonomy. Ask team members to put forth their suggestions, write each on a sticky note, and stick it on the wall. After all ideas are presented, go through them and collaboratively determine the best approach for each action.

Need help with this workshop?

Anna Lundqvist portrait
Anna Lundqvist
UX Designer and AI Ethics Strategist guiding innovative product development and educational workshops
Eddy Salzmann portrait
Eddy Salzmann
Design lead and team culture enthusiast driving products and design processes
Ola Möller portrait
Ola Möller
Founder of MethodKit who has a passion for organisations and seeing the big picture
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