Shared CDO – looking for alignment


A key role for any CDO in an organisation is looking for, and creating, alignment.

The obvious one in the digital sphere is looking for alignment between the organisation’s preferred outcomes, and the needs of the people who use its services or products.

Take channel shift as a fairly obvious example. The outcomes that a council wants to see are more people using cheaper channels to access services and interact with it.

The needs of the people doing this interacting are to have efficient, usable services that let them get the help they need with the minimum of fuss.

By aligning these two things, a strategist can easily plot a course where developing high quality online services gives both sides what they want.

Not aligning them, by focusing too much or even exclusively on the organisation’s outcomes, will lead to failure to achieve either side’s objectives – because even if people want to use online services, they won’t if they are poorly designed.

It is possible to think of alignment as a tool for making things happen. Within an organisation, there will be many different motivations and objectives. Senior leaders want one thing. Service managers another. As CDO, you will have your own.

Rather than trying to convince people to do things they don’t feel they want to, the better approach is to consider what their preferred outcomes are, and align them with your own.

Finding this alignment allows you to build a shared sense of purpose and mission, and will reduce the friction you get when people feel like you are trying to make them change against their will.