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When the planets align...

When the planets align...


If you were up at 5:30am last Thursday you might have noticed something in the sky that isn’t normally there: for the first time in ten years, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all visible and form a neat line from the horizon to the moon. If you missed it, don’t panic – it should be visible until 20 February.

When the planets align

While I’m not usually a star gazer; with all that energy in the universe aligning and intersecting at this point in time, it’s easy to think that something remarkable should happen. Which got me thinking about how powerful things happen when things align in our own universe. That when energy, communication, purpose and people all come together, remarkable things happen.

Of course, it’d be a shame if this only happened in our lives once every ten years, or if it only lasted a short period (as is the case with this parade of planets), or worse yet, if we waited for some other force to make it happen for us. If you know me at all, I am a big believer in living each day with intention. And so it goes with our own relationships, both personal and business.

How often do we intentionally seek alignment and balance? Over time I’ve realised how critical these things are if we want success both for ourselves and the people we work with. Without it, our energies are pulled in different – often conflicting – directions and we become frustrated or burned by it. Here are some of the simple things we can do to achieve alignment and experience the benefits that come with it.

1. Start your day with purpose

Before you become distracted, take some time to remind yourself what you want to achieve today and why you want to do it. Meditation is one of the things Vanderkam found the most successful people do before breakfast, and there’s a good reason why. It gives you time to focus and put your day’s task into perspective. If you lead a team – no matter the size – create a rhythm where you can do this together. A 5 minute morning stand-up to set the energy and focus (a practice the team at Redii adopted from Verne Harnish) is one way of achieving this.

2. Communicate constantly

Speaking of rhythms, creating a communication rhythm is essential if you want people aligned. This includes providing both the tools and time to receive and respond to information, and making it clear to the people you are working with about your expectations and deliverables. For example, I will pick up the phone for urgent conversations; my team use Slack for quick exchanges that don’t require email; Redii to broadcast individual or team achievements; and we have weekly team meetings for more in-depth discussions. Different tools set a different sense of urgency or communicate a different type of information. All of these tools form part of a communication eco-system that keeps the companies I work with running smoothly every day.

3. Track the journey

People heard about the planets aligning long before it was due to happen. This wouldn’t be possible if people hadn’t been tracking the planets and their trajectory; something we sometimes fail to do when we are focussed on the short-term. We don’t climb mountains in one giant leap; it take lots of little steps. When in positions of leadership, we are often removed from the detail, so it’s easy to downplay or forget the significance of these small steps; yet they matter, so, as my colleague Kylie wrote earlier this week, it’s important to recognise progressthrough your journey.

4. Appreciate it when it happens

I’m sure there have been thousands of people who’ve gazed up at this morning’s celestial show — but what a shame if we all knew something rare and remarkable was happening in the universe and no one stopped for even a second to appreciate it.

The same goes for our day-to-day: it’s a wasted opportunity when we fail to appreciate that we do get it right, our people do unite, make progress, or achieve something great. And even though we can’t influence a planet’s orbit, we can influence each other and what we recognise and reinforce positively does get repeated.

Who knows, if we could all do more of that, we could probably change the world.

This article first appeared as part of my LinkedIn Influencer serices


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