Align your team around a common vision by following this process. Let’s face it, if everyone on your team thought as you do, you would have better results, right? Well, maybe. But the real answer lies in what your team thinks. Therefore, there are several things you can do to improve alignment within your team. Let’s begin with these suggestions:
Align Your Team Through Strategy
Begin with a clearly communicated strategy. One principle I discuss in workshops is the development of a common language to align your team. This is critically important because everyone sees the world differently. We have limiting beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, deductions, interpretations and so on. The fastest way to gain alignment to develop a common language built around a strategic vision. Once while leading a turnaround situation I paid people to be able to recite the mission word for word. And, it worked because we shared an ideal; a common language
Align Your Team: Get The Facts
Before you can get to strategy you’ll want to accurately assess the facts. I like to ask 4 questions: What is right or working? What is broken? What is missing? And, What is confused? You can also do a typical SWOT analysis but I like the first four questions better.
Ask For Input
Do this as a team. Ask for input. Encourage participation. Allow everyone on your team to be part of strategic development. Yes, do it off-site but bring it back to the office and start using language consistent with your vision.
Align Your Team: Identify The Win
Develop clearly defined outcomes and ensure all team members understand their responsibilities, authority and accountability. Communicate exactly how each role contributes to the mission of the team
Encourage and reward collaboration. On a continuum of command and control and laissez-faire (hands off), collaboration is miles away from command and control. Lead every team member differently based on tenure, competency and performance; however, always encourage two way communication. People who have a voice have influence. All team members want to have influence
Utilize your team’s creativity. The classic approach here is, “heavy on what and light on how.” Micro managers beware. Telling employees how to do everything is stifling and creates turnover
Give Your Team Autonomy
Give each team member appropriate levels of freedom to discover how they can do their job. This is how innovation occurs. Team members who feel like contributors have higher morale
Hire The Right People
Get the right people on the team. No conversation about alignment would be complete without discussing staffing. You will have people with you, against you and passively resisting without your knowledge. It is the passive resistors you need to minimize or get off your team
Hire To Core Values
Covey told us decades ago to hire for character, competency and compatibility. Character gets you to the interview. Lack it and no one hires you. Competency keeps you in the job because you deliver on desired results. Team fit begins with compatibility. Consequently, team members who share your company’s core values have fewer conflicts and perform better.
Alignment begins with you. To effect change you must begin by building a sense of urgency around the required change. John Kotter wrote, Leading Change, and is an excellent resource when initiating any change effort.
If you’re following this series, next up is Shared Responsibility