Direction, Alignment, Commitment (Dac) – A Framework For Understanding Group Leadership


The Direction, Alignment, Commitment (DAC) framework presents leadership as a collective social process of creating shared direction, alignment, and commitment within groups for effective outcomes. It emphasizes creating shared direction, alignment, and commitment within groups or organizations for effective leadership.


The DAC model provides an approach for developing leadership capabilities and fostering more cohesive, high-performing teams and organizations. It can be used as a guide and a diagnostic for effective leadership.


DAC expands the understanding of leadership beyond leader-follower dynamics. The framework suggests that leadership is not solely about individual leaders, but rather a social process that emerges through the interactions and exchanges among people within a group. Effective leadership happens when these group interactions create direction, alignment, and commitment as outcomes:
  • Direction: Groups need agreement on their overarching goals and what they are trying to accomplish. Effective direction provides a clear sense of shared purpose and priorities for the group.
  • Alignment:  Alignment refers to the effective coordination and integration of the group's work in service of their shared direction. It involves aligning processes, systems, structures, and practices to support the group's goals.
  • Commitment: Commitment means having a strong dedication and willingness among group members to prioritize the success of the collective over individual interests. It requires individuals to be motivated and committed to the group's shared direction.
Key Advantages of the DAC Framework:
  • It expands leadership theory to higher levels of analysis beyond just leader-follower dynamics.
  • It is applicable across diverse cultures and contexts.
  • It integrates well with emerging leadership theories focused on collective processes.
  • It bridges the gap between leadership theory and practice by providing a clear framework for developing leadership capabilities.

Sample Activity

DAC can be used as a quick diagnostic of a team’s leadership. Use the fist-to-five approach where a fist represents zero or the minimum and a five is the maximum. On a count of three, ask people to hold up their response from a fist to 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 signaling their rating of the group's effectiveness on that measure. 
  1. Briefly explain the DAC framework and indicate that we’ll use it to help us understand perspectives on the group’s leadership effectiveness. 
  2. On a count of three ask the group to signal their sense of the group’s clarity of direction. Ask people to look around and ask people at the low end to explain their ratings. Sample other ratings.
  3. Repeat this process for alignment and commitment. 
  4. Ask the group what actions they can take to address opportunities for improvement – engaging group insights, changing processes as needed, developing skills, and shifting cultural beliefs  – and gaps in perception. 


The DAC model was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership. 

Target Audience:

  • Teams
  • Managers
  • Leaders
  • Organizers
  • Facilitators

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