Why I dislike 'Alignment'

Lunar EclipseNow I may have become super sensitised to increasing use of the term, but it seems to me that use of the word 'alignment', apart from being yet another vague business mantra, actually provides some insight into organisation culture.

'Alignment' implies separation, so it makes sense for countries or even competing companies to consider aligning for certain purposes. The need for 'alignment' within an enterprise implies different functions pointing in different directions that should be pointing in the same direction. However this itself implies fragmentation that probably shouldn't exist at all within a business. 

A culture of fragments, silos, islands, or little empires, is contrary to what most theories and what most people accept as a productive business environment. Generally the goal is integration.  When a business is integrated alignment isn't required. Integration isn't so much a process as an attitude, achieved by a shared sense of business ownership ('our business' rather than 'the business') and a team approach to decision making. When these exist a business or enterprise operates as a single system comprised of closely co-operating components that are in continuous communication with each other, where there is no possibility of misalignment other than by error. 

'Alignment' applies to fragmented organisations in which, like magnetic nodes, all the little empires need to align to have any chance of progressing a common strategy, but this is a sticking plaster for symptoms rather than a cure for disease.

'Alignment' belongs to the teflon school of business jargon. Big hand, small map. Like planets in space, something can be a million miles from something else and yet still be said to be aligned!