You’ll never know 100% of the thoughts and feelings of another person, even on a given topic.
Neural networks change and new information is created constantly. It's hard enough to understand our own thoughts completely.
Here is the implication. Alignment is a process not an event.
If you think you are done understanding after a single meeting with your boss, focus group with customers or interview with your employee. Think again.
I’m not suggesting we should refrain from acting on our current understanding - that’s not helpful. Rather, be mindful that minds are constantly adjusting.
Instead of "I know what they are thinking", say "I assume they are thinking this...", or “here is my current understanding”, or “this is my current hypothesis.”
Small shifts, new trajectory.
When you see alignment as a process not an event, it keeps you curious and humble.
It might also motivate you to test the understanding everyone else has taken for granted and find a new way to create value.