Tuesday Morning Focal Point

How Aligned is Your Team?

Yesterday I was with a new client on Vancouver Island for the day, and as usual, I met a whole bunch of great people doing a whole lot of great things that can get good outcomes.  Also as usual however, most people didn’t adequately understand or know what others on the team were doing on a day to day basis, or what others believed their particular accountability’s or measures of success were.

So often this is what we find.  Last week our team was with a corporate client, leading them through the creation of their first ever One Page Strategic Plan and as usual, when we asked the 12 executive team members to put on the top of the page the name of the company, we had 3 different iterations of the name among the 12 people.  We took some time right at the start to clarify with the company President what the name of the company is and what everyone on the team needs to start calling it.  Alignment begins right there, and you’d be surprised how often this happens that just in the name of the company, we get many different iterations among key company leaders.  My statement at this moment with an executive team is that, “a mist at the executive level is a fog in the marketplace.”  We simply have to get more aligned, and it starts with us all calling the company or business by the same name.

Coaching for Alignment

Back to my new client yesterday – I watched throughout the day as people relayed stories regarding the many efforts over the years to coordinate things – always leading to limited positive outcomes and a lack of follow through.  There are many good business people out there doing good things and getting good outcomes, but the opportunity cost is that they don’t become great and they settle for 10% growth per year, when they could be achieving 50% or more.  Teams that take the time to get their infrastructure right get everyone on the same page and hold each other accountable for their respective actions that are fully aligned with a clear strategic direction, become great teams and grow way beyond the industry average growth rate.

What prompted me to write this was that this morning I received the final copy of the electronic version of the One Page Strategic Plan for our client from last week.  As I reviewed it I saw alignment all over the place.  I saw a list of 90-day sprints with measurable outcomes that linked to annual goals, 3-5 year thrusts and ultimately the company purpose and Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  I also know that each executive team member has their own list of their 90-day sprints (accountability’s) that will drive their activities between now and when we come back together in June to measure results and plan for the next quarter.  This company now has a level of alignment they have never had before, and this is just the beginning!

Cameron’s Call to Action

  1. Over the next week, make a list of what you believe the priorities are for each of your executive team members. Ask them to write their list, and compare them to see how close they are.
  2. Take it a step further – ask each team member to write out what they believe the accountability’s and priorities are for each of the other members of the executive team. Compare those as well.
  3. Finally, take a moment to stop in at each team members office, desk or call them if they are abroad, and ask them what they are doing that exact moment and what their top objective is for their day. Have each individual explain to you exactly how their actions in that moment and their top objective for the day align with the company purpose.
  4. Assess what you learn – is your team well aligned? If not, what will you do about it?

 Cameron is an Executive Coach and Consultant specializing in business growth and workplace mental health. 

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