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Alignment, Clarity, and Expectations (ACE)

In the modern workplace, lack of alignment, clarity, or expectations (ACE) causes the majority of conflicts and escalations.

For example, you might have a conflict with a colleague on a project. You can ask yourself, are you aligned with your colleague? Do you have the right clarity? Have you set expectations with each other? If you do not have all three, then you don’t have ACE with your colleague.

Lack of alignment, clarity, and expectations can also exist with your manager or direct report. You might not have defined the roles correctly or valuable directions may have been misinterpreted. If you do not have all three with your manager or report, then you don’t have ACE.


Are we aligned on the same goals? Do we agree with the same vision we are working on? Do we disagree on a high-level?

When you achieve alignment, everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Additional Reads:
The Four Levels of Organizational Alignment – Entrepreneur


Are we clear on our alignment and expectations?

Writing down action items, alignment, and expectations create clarity. Multiple people can be in a meeting and interpret the wrong takeaways. Having written notes and follow up actions after meetings provide clarity.

Additional Reads:
Lack of Clarity in the Workplace is Costing Your Organization – Human Capital Institute


What we can expect from each other? Who is doing what? What is the expectation or timeline?

Setting expectations often involves designating owners, deadlines, and communication plans.

Additional Reads:
14 Ways to Effectively Set Expectations With Your Employees – Forbes

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