If you keep hearing this word too often at your workplace or on a project you are spearheading, be sure that tough times lie ahead. "Nitin, we need to align XYZ...." or "Going ahead, ABC Dept would need to be aligned". You can bet on it that pace of work will significantly reduce once you start aligning people.
Does that mean aligning people should not be done? Isnt it prudent to involve people so that everyone is aware of what you are upto? Certainly. But not when its related to innovation or a shift from the "normal". Aligning people should be limited to "FYI". Sad but true, top managers who have a bias for action will not waste their energy in aligning people which includes "buy-ins".
In fact one has to realise that most meetings which are held in organisations to discuss proposals are merely an attempt to give autocracy a facade of democracy. And in an increasingly fast environment, aligning people may be a waste of time and resources. More importantly, it can paralyse an organisation on a certain project leading to low motivation, lack of focus and procrastination.