Internal and External Alignment
Knowsy reveals two kinds of alignment: internal alignment and external alignment.
Internal alignment means that each person on the team rank orders a list of items the same way. You can think of internal alignment somewhat like “preferences” in foods – if you and I were to rank order our five favorite kinds of Dessert, then we could say that we were “internally” aligned on food choices.
Internal alignment alone is insufficient for high team performance, precisely because the act of working together means that I must be able to make predictions as to the work that other members of the team are doing, in part because effective communication and work processes rely not only on actual behavior but also on the expectations of behavior created when the team agrees on an activity.
Therefore, we define
external alignment as the degree to which each member of a team can accurately predict how each other member of the team orders a set of items. Continuing with the food analogy, we can say that we externally aligned if I can predict your favorite Pizza toppings and you can predict my favorite Bagels.
High-performing teams, and high-performing organizations, therefore, are both internally
and externally aligned.