Building Alignment

Monday, June 15th, 2020
A transformative, 4-week Co Leadership online course for engineers, tech leads, managers, product managers, and others in tech.

Building Alignment

Enrollment ends Friday, June 12th, 2020
Enrollment ends Friday, June 12th, 2020

Master the most foundational tool for leadership used by leaders at top tech companies.

Scale your impact from individual contributor to leader.

Swiftly build trust to bring teams together.

Unite key stakeholders onto the same page.

Get instant access
Results | The Story | Why Building Alignment? | Course Format | Course Calendar | Packages | Q&A

Building Alignment: How to Create the Impact and Influence You Want in Your Career


An online program for engineers, tech leads, managers, product managers, and others in tech to massively scale your impact.

With Edmond Lau and Jean Hsu

Learn the most high-leverage tool for leadership that empowers you to:

  • Get explicit buy-in upfront from key stakeholders, so that you avoid wasting time on the wrong things and focus your energy on what's important.
  • Clearly share expectations when projects get off-track and stretch on endlessly, so that there's shared understanding about deliverables.
  • Confidently approach difficult conflicts with a structured conversation, so that your team can operate with high trust, performance, and alignment.

“I left feeling empowered, more than I have in a long time. It's amazing how much new tools can shift a mindset.”
Cate Huston - Head of Developer Experience, Automattic

We understand how frustrating it can be to feel drained from spending all this energy and hard work on something you care about and still not get the outcome you want — all because people weren’t on the same page.

We’ve both been there, excited to lead a project, but also so overwhelmed with meetings, code reviews, 1:1s, and fighting fires — not to mention finding time for our own engineering work.

It looked something like this:

With the launch date only days away, engineers and product managers were still arguing about priorities.

“We can't possibly ship without that.”
“We can't increase the scope without pushing out the launch date.”
“Why can't you just get the team to do it faster?”
“Oh, I had assumed we would ship it with this feature as well.”

We felt stuck, not knowing how to get our team on the same page. Why were they working on that low-priority issue, when the main features hadn't been completed? How could we get them to focus on the things that actually mattered for launch?

We felt uncertain. Were we even making a difference at all?

We didn't want to micro-manage our team, so we just hoped things would come together on their own.

They didn't. We stayed up until 2am to finish everything ourselves.

We shipped the project, but we were exhausted.

The worst part of all this was, we didn't even know if we were doing a good job.

We felt like imposters, like we were winging it.

“Do I even belong here?”

Sound familiar? It was exhausting. We tried a bunch of things to try to get the situation under control — reading books like Radical Candor or The Manager's Path, reaching out to mentors, and talking to our manager. Sometimes we'd get helpful advice, but more often than not, we still felt lost and spread too thin.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

“I have tried for years to be a change agent alone on my own. Those days are over... It has been a big relief for me to learn that I can strategically form alliances around the changes I want to see.

Max Moldmann - Software Development Lead at John Deere

“I've done a lot of reading around leadership and related skills building, but I still experienced a major, immediate leveling-up. We talk about "aligning values" a lot but I honestly had meager-to-no ideas on what that can look like in practice. Now, I get to the heart of why a team member prefers one solution or approach over another much more quickly.”

Kate Taggart - Engineering Manager at Stripe

You deserve to have the impact and influence that you know you’re capable of.

Imagine that you had the ability to always get people on the same page as you.

What would be possible for you?

You'd be able to:

  • Get people excited about and aligned behind your team’s most important priorities.
  • Create opportunities that develop, excite, and grow the people on your team.
  • Discover what's important to key stakeholders — managers, team leads, even execs — so you can get easily get buy-in early on.
  • Feel a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment from feeling more deeply united with your team.
  • Collaborate more effectively with anyone you work with — even if you don't usually see eye-to-eye.
  • Get promoted more quickly and unlock more opportunities sooner because more of your team-oriented efforts achieve greater success in less time.

At the end of the day, you'd be able to look back at the progress you and your team is making, and be confident in knowing:

“I'm doing a good job.”

This is all possible for you, with one simple yet powerful tool — building alignment.

“People or leaders or role models who communicate really well, who build alignment with their teams — now I understand that there is something I can do to become one of those people. There is something I can actually do to design my relationships. I'm more in control. That is clear to me now. It's terrific. I love it.

Matias Lespiau - VP of SaaS Operations at Aurea Software

“Edmond and Jean put together an amazing workshop. Their presentation format of Explain, Demo, and Practice worked wonders and really proved how powerful their exercises were. In just 15 minutes of one exercise, my co-worker and I cracked through the problem of a non-productive recurring meeting we were having. And just two weeks later we implemented the changes and found resounding success! I highly recommend Edmond and Jean's work especially for leaders from different departments who work together on a daily basis.”

Brett Willemsen - Engineering Manager at Pager Duty

Hi! We're your course instructors for Building Alignment.

Jean Hsu

I spent a decade on and leading engineering teams at Google, Pulse, and Medium before transitioning to leadership coaching. I've coached 50+ individual contributors, tech leads, managers, and VPs at companies that include Dropbox, Medium, Asana, Slack, Github, Stripe, IFTTT, and Lever.

Edmond Lau

I'm the author of The Effective Engineer. I was previously on and led engineering teams at Google, Quora, and Quip. I've coached 50+ people ranging from individual contributors, tech leads, managers, directors, and CTOs. My engineering and career advice has been featured on Forbes, Time, Slate, Inc., and Fortune.

“My biggest concern was finding the material too difficult or vague for everyday use. Happily all the modules are built for singular use as well as combined with other modules for maximum impact. The structured practice and well constructed videos made the material easy to digest and changed the way I think about relationships across the board.

Marco Ponti - IT Operations Manager at rateGenius

“This course is thoughtful and practical. Edmond and Jean do a great job of explaining why lack of alignment is a root cause of not being productive as an engineer. They also provide a framework for how to build alignment, as well as concrete tools to do so. I have already been able to apply this iteratively to my work relationships and it is making a positive difference. It's helped me approach my work relationships more strategically and be more explicit about building alliances and discover what matters to people.”

Jeremy Clemenson - Engineer at Stripe

“I've spent a lot of time in various trainings and coaching sessions (including the first year of an Harvard Business School MBA!) Jean and Edmond did a great job of pulling out specific, high impact communication techniques and creating a safe environment to practice them in. I'd highly recommend going to their workshop with a friend, coworker, or cofounder.”

Ellen Chisa - Co-Founder and CEO of Dark Inc.

“I attended this course back in October. It was very good. Coincidentally, the week after, I needed to lead a cross-functional team through a complex challenge. I applied some of what I'd learned, and made the whole process of aligning much smoother than I'd expected.

David Brunelle - Vice President, Customer Experience Engineering

Building Alignment —
Team Leadership Package

Building Alignment — Team Leadership Package


Recommended for tech leads, managers, product managers, senior individual contributors, and other engineering leaders.

The premium Team Leadership package includes:

Everything in the Foundations package

  • Full Building Alignment course: Four core modules packed with videos, demos, and additional resources that teach a new set of frameworks and recipes on how to effectively build alignment. You'll have lifetime access to the content.
  • Learning labs: One lab per module, focused on 1:1 experiential practice of tools with other students over video sessions — try them out in a safe environment and get immediate feedback. Each lab helps you to confidently integrate the tools into your day-to-day workflows. We host labs where you can just show up and also provide instructions to organize your own self-guided labs at your own time.
  • Live group coaching with Jean and Edmond: We'll debrief with the group to ask questions, share feedback, discuss nuances, and explore ways to leverage the tools more effectively at work. Learning from each other's situations is one of the fastest ways to accumulate more experience. All coaching calls are recorded for your use.
  • Online community: You'll join like-minded folks in tech in a shared learning space where you can ask questions, share stories, and continue deepening the learnings of the course. You'll have lifetime access — many alumni continue to use the community to organize practice sessions and meetups after the course.

plus

Everything in the All Things Remote package

Learn powerful mindsets, actionable strategies, and tools from video interviews with 4 of the world’s leading experts in building alignment in remote teams.

  • Juan Pablo Buriticá: VP of Engineering at Splice, where he led a distributed team of of 50+ engineers across the US and Latin America. Co-author of The Holloway Guide to Remote Work and “A Guide to Distributed Teams.”
  • Cate Huston: Head of Developer Experience at Automattic, with nearly 1,000 employees across 68 countries.
  • Sarah Milstein: Senior Director of Engineering at Mailchimp, 20+ years of experience working on and running remote teams.
  • Katie Womersley: VP of Engineering at Buffer, a globally distributed team with no offices. Co-author of The Holloway Guide to Remote Work and “A Guide to Distributed Teams.”

Bonus Module — Bridging Worlds: How to Effectively Align Across Geographical Distances and Time Zones

What You'll Learn:

  • How to leverage different communication channels most effectively.
  • How to create team camaraderie and bonding across virtually.
  • Best practices for when to use video vs written communication vs chat.

plus

Bonus Module — Influencing Teams: How to Design Your Team's Alliance and External Alignment

What You'll Learn:

  • The 3-Question Litmus Test for evaluating whether a team is fully aligned — and if not, the concrete steps to identify what the gaps are in the team and how to fill them.
  • How to powerfully coach someone to build clarity and get them unstuck — even when you don't know much about their work or area of expertise.
  • How to choose between giving advice and coaching — so that people leave with maximal excitement about next steps on their problem.
  • How to communicate outwards with the rest of the organization to build external alignment.

The Tactical Toolkit for Aligning Your Team

This multi-page toolkit contains detailed questions and checklists for evaluating, building, and maintaining alignment on your team. You'll also find powerful, sample scripts for conversations and emails that you can use to surface gaps in understanding and alignment and fill them.

LIVE Foundational Coaching Skills for Engineering Leaders online workshop

Have you felt uncertain or stuck about how to help someone when you don't know enough about their work or area of expertise? As engineers, we readily dive into advice-giving and problem-solving mode, but we don't always know enough about someone's project or situation to give advice — and often, what worked for you won't necessarily work for someone else.

In this 2-hour online workshop, you'll learn and practice core coaching tools to prompt someone to look at an issue from a few different perspectives and equip them with tools to solve problems critically on their own. You'll integrate these building blocks into entire coaching conversations — especially useful around professional development as well as technical areas in which you have less experience.

$1,999

Email us for group rates or with any other questions — we're happy to help.
support@coleadership.com

“After taking the alignment course I’m seeing things more clearly now. I learned some simple techniques that I use almost everyday that have helped me tremendously. This training helped me have more presence and emotional intelligence when dealing with difficult situations where alignment is critical for my team to be successful. I have also been able to use what I’ve learned to coach others on my team to use some of the same techniques. The course has had a profound and lasting impact on how recognize and approach misalignment, both professionally and in my personal life.

Jeff Stott - VP Software Engineering at Extra Space Storage

In just a few weeks, Edmond and Jean transformed fifteen Quip engineers into empowered leaders. After going through the program, the engineers spearheaded initiatives to improve team processes around new hire onboarding, product review, and code deployment. I also notice that my reports who went through the program are more comfortable broaching difficult topics with their teammates to build alignment.”

Nikrad Madhi - Engineering Manager at Quip

Building Alignment —
All Things Remote Package

Building Alignment — All Things Remote Package


Recommended for anyone working remotely or with remote teammates.

This package for building distributed alignment includes:

Everything in the Foundations package

  • Full Building Alignment course: Four core modules packed with videos, demos, and additional resources that teach a new set of frameworks and recipes on how to effectively build alignment. You'll have lifetime access to the content.
  • Learning labs: One lab per module, focused on 1:1 experiential practice of tools with other students over video sessions — try them out in a safe environment and get immediate feedback. Each lab helps you to confidently integrate the tools into your day-to-day workflows. We host labs where you can just show up and also provide instructions to organize your own self-guided labs at your own time.
  • Live group coaching with Jean and Edmond: We'll debrief with the group to ask questions, share feedback, discuss nuances, and explore ways to leverage the tools more effectively at work. Learning from each other's situations is one of the fastest ways to accumulate more experience. All coaching calls are recorded for your use.
  • Online community: You'll join like-minded folks in tech in a shared learning space where you can ask questions, share stories, and continue deepening the learnings of the course. You'll have lifetime access — many alumni continue to use the community to organize practice sessions and meetups after the course.

plus

Strategies, Frameworks, and Tactics for Aligning Remote Teams

Learn powerful mindsets, actionable strategies, and tools from video interviews with 4 of the world’s leading experts in building alignment in remote teams.

  • Juan Pablo Buriticá: VP of Engineering at Splice, where he led a distributed team of of 50+ engineers across the US and Latin America. Co-author of The Holloway Guide to Remote Work and “A Guide to Distributed Teams.”
  • Cate Huston: Head of Developer Experience at Automattic, with nearly 1,000 employees across 68 countries.
  • Sarah Milstein: Senior Director of Engineering at Mailchimp, 20+ years of experience working on and running remote teams.
  • Katie Womersley: VP of Engineering at Buffer, a globally distributed team with no offices. Co-author of The Holloway Guide to Remote Work and “A Guide to Distributed Teams.”

Bonus Module — Bridging Worlds: How to Effectively Align Across Geographical Distances and Time Zones

What You'll Learn:

  • How to leverage different communication channels most effectively.
  • How to create team camaraderie and bonding across virtually.
  • Best practices for when to use video vs written communication vs chat.
$1,399

Email us for group rates or with any other questions — we're happy to help.
support@coleadership.com

The biggest thing I took away from Building Alignment was just how human we all are, and how understanding and unearthing the motivators and stories of everyone involved in a relationship can help remove obstacles to alignment. Stopping to think about what drives the other person (or people) is not something I used to make a habit of, assuming we were all trying to achieve the same thing, so why bother? Now it feels more important to go one level deeper and see why and how they're approaching things, before engaging with faulty assumptions.”

Beau Lebens - Head of Product Engineering, Automattic

“Edmond and Jean break difficult conversations into easily understandable steps, which I found really useful. I had the opportunity to try out many simple experiments in workplace communication, learning to better understand other people and build alignment. I was impressed with how accessible the material and the exercises were — I would recommend this to even the most skeptical of managers or tech leads on my teams and I wouldn't be worried about turning them off.

Brian Basham - Former Research Engineer at Google

Building Alignment —
Foundations Package

Building Alignment — Foundations Package


Recommended for engineers, data scientists, and emerging leaders.

This foundational package includes the core elements of the Building Alignment course and experiential learning.

  • Full Building Alignment course: Four core modules packed with videos, demos, and additional resources that teach a new set of frameworks and recipes on how to effectively build alignment. You'll have lifetime access to the content.
  • Learning labs: One lab per module, focused on 1:1 experiential practice of tools with other students over video sessions — try them out in a safe environment and get immediate feedback. Each lab helps you to confidently integrate the tools into your day-to-day workflows. We host labs where you can just show up and also provide instructions to organize your own self-guided labs at your own time.
  • Live group coaching with Jean and Edmond: We'll debrief with the group to ask questions, share feedback, discuss nuances, and explore ways to leverage the tools more effectively at work. Learning from each other's situations is one of the fastest ways to accumulate more experience. All coaching calls are recorded for your use.
  • Online community: You'll join like-minded folks in tech in a shared learning space where you can ask questions, share stories, and continue deepening the learnings of the course. You'll have lifetime access — many alumni continue to use the community to organize practice sessions and meetups after the course.
$999

Email us for group rates or with any other questions — we're happy to help.
support@coleadership.com

“In going through Building Alignment, I was able to confirm a long-held suspicion that a significant part of decision making is emotionally-driven. Facts and data are important, but they must be tied effectively to your stakeholders’ deeply-held concerns in order to gain alignment. Edmond and Jean’s workshop highlights this consideration and more importantly provides a systematic approach to unpacking these types of scenarios. This has added another dimension to the way that I approach my work, especially for larger projects and initiatives where access to stakeholders is limited.”

Dennis Poon - Engineering Manager at Pager Duty

“Building and maintaining alignment within our teams, departments and organizations is a vital part of effective and healthy communication. Taking the time to build these alliances, to truly understand motivations of stakeholders and to explicitly state shared goals and understandings is how we can all start to communicate and lead more effectively and makes all the other tools we as an industry rely upon that much more useful.”

Tim Lentine - Product Development Director at CAPS

Try Building Alignment for 14 Days, Risk-Free

If you join Building Alignment, do all the work, and don’t find it helpful, we want you to have 100% of your money back.

We know from our own experience and from teaching Building Alignment for over 2 years that it’s the most foundational skill you can learn for accelerating your career. And we also know that it's painstakingly slow and often ineffective to try to figure things out on your own, using trial-and-error to try to get from where you are to where you want to be.

That’s why we’re making this guarantee: if you join Building Alignment, complete all the homework exercises, participate in the learning labs, show up to the live group coaching, and are dissatisfied with the course, we will provide a 100% refund.

“This is not your typical training program! Others seem to be a long list of tactics divorced from real life. This workshop series shared useful tactics contextualized in self-awareness, with concrete actions our current and emerging engineering leaders could incorporate into their day-to-day work.”

Madeline Bermes - Head of Engineering Operations at Medium