Is Your Senior Team Aligned?
An aligned team is a high-performing team. Here are four goals to strive for:
1. Every team member knows the top strategic goals of the organization:
You have communicated your vision clearly and often enough so that your team members’ top three personal goals are directly aligned with the organization’s strategy. This will help the team focus and give them tools to prioritize projects and tasks. The inability to prioritize can lead to overwhelm and a lack of role clarity. Andre Lavoie talks more about it here.
2. Disagree and then form one voice:
Topics can be discussed and argued behind closed doors. Strong teams must be able to actively disagree to know where everyone stands. Ultimately, the team must commit whether or not they agree. A phrase I encourage my clients to use with their team is “Everyone will have their say, not necessarily their way.” This can be hard. We naturally personalize our ideas and solutions. Talk about it, toss it around, but once you are on the other side of the door you are committed to one voice.
3. Solutions accompany complaints:
Two benefits of being part of the senior team are confidentiality and access to a pool of knowledge. Occasionally, you may need to express frustration. Let your team know that’s what you are doing and then followup with proposed solutions. If you have none, dive into that pool of knowledge and ask others for ideas. Complaining can easily become an undesirable part of your culture.
4. Move conversations from your head to your mouth to eliminate assumptions:
We work so hard trying to figure out what people need, want or mean. “I didn’t want to ask Susan to take on this particular project. She has so much on her plate already.” Or “Susan knows what needs to be done she just doesn’t want to do it.” Let Susan answer for herself. We have conversations completely inside our own head, even coming to a solution, answer or reason, usually in search of missing information we could just ask for. If we can eliminate or at least pare down the number of assumptions we operate under, the entire organization will benefit. Stephanie Ward writes more about Why Assumptions are Bad for Business.
Remember, you are the culture keepers for the entire organization. Striving for these goals will help keep your team aligned, proactive, and engaged in building trust.