I have never played Dungeons and Dragons (an on-line fantasy game) but understand that it has a huge following. It’s a role-playing game where each participant is assigned a character which embarks upon imaginary adventures in a fantasy setting. Together, the characters solve dilemmas, engage in battles and gather treasure and knowledge.
What’s really interesting is that the characters are assigned “alignment”, including lawful good, good, unaligned evil and chaotic evil. The purpose of this alignment is to describe and apply the moral and ethical perspectives of the players, societies and monsters in the game. For game players this additional variable adds complexity, uncertainty and excitement.
As real-world organisations engage in battles to gather treasure and knowledge , they too need to consider the implications of alignment and the impact this has on performance . After all, organisations are dynamic systems and like other systems they function best when their components are working together smoothly and efficiently.
There is much that organisations can do to improve their alignment and increase performance. Achieving a constructive culture – one which places equal emphasis on customers, employees and shareholders is one example of alignment. Leadership Development programmes which encourage constructive behaviours while valuing performance and team working are another example.
Achieving better alignment is always a challenge but there really is treasure to be gained from slaying the odd dragon here and there.