You’re launching something new in your organization: a new business unit, a new innovative product, a new growth plan… anything new that is supposed to improve your company.
In every case, you have 3 choices. One, you can create a dysfunctional team where people are miserable and the project will ultimately fail. Two, you can create a functional team that does a “good job” but isn’t good enough to capture the results you desire. Or three, you can create a team of distinction with highly motivated and aligned people that hits it out of the park. Which do you choose?
Of course, everyone wants the third option. All leaders want a team of distinction. Yet not all leaders make the choices they need to support the result they desire.
Teams of distinction constantly strengthen alignment. They do it when they form as a new team, and they do it as they proceed down the path of their work.
1. Align on Mission. Every team and project have an intended impact on the world. And every team must find the words to express that mission. Don’t accept something vanilla that sounds like it’s from an annual report. Not something that was “handed down from the team.” Take time to debate and craft a mission statement that everyone buys into. A mission that aligns and inspires everyone to be their best. Start each meeting with it. Hang it up somewhere. Keep it top of mind.
2. Why Change. The biggest reason any change or improvement fails in organizations is that people don’t buy into the “Why.” If there are no clear business reasons for a change, don’t do it. If there are, clearly define why the change is happening, why we need to do it, why we must do it, and why it matters to customers, the organization, and individual employees. The leadership team must be aligned on these “why’s” so they can personally be motivated to change and consistently communicate the reasons to others.
3. Prioritize Your Priorities. Average-performing organizations focus on over 370 priorities each year. High-performing organizations focus on about 20. Make sure to set and review and reset priorities continuously. When you think it’s clear, ask your team to write down the top 5. If 80% of the people have 80% of them right, you are in great shape!
4. Race to Do RACI. If you want a way to prevent conflicts, reduce redundant work, and increase motivation and productivity, RACI charting is for you. Make it your team’s culture to define for all collaborative tasks who is Responsible to do the work, who is Accountable (has veto power), who will be Consulted, and who needs to be Informed.
Team alignment in these 4 areas guarantees your team is all aimed in the right direction.