Is Your Team Aligned?

Is Your Team Aligned?  I just got back from Convergence — the weeklong Microsoft Partner and Customer Conference.  As expected, there were numerous technical updates, but they also had several business leadership tracks.  One of the classes specifically discussed the importance of knowing your team’s strengths and how to align your team.  I found it interesting because I’ve been intentional and almost hypersensitive about assessing team alignment when we propose solutions for our clients and prospects.  If there is no alignment, especially at the top, the project failure rate goes way up — along with the cost!

Successful strategy planning is 1% Vision and 99% Alignment.  This gets you and your team “doing the right things.”

Now there are a few ways to get your teams aligned.  My favorite is the 3×5 cards on a wall with priorities and having the C-Level team and supporting teams prioritize them.  For more on this see my blog post on Do You Have a Healthy Organization?

The other way we do this is a whiteboard session of identifying the systems, bottlenecks, and rough goals.  Shown below is the image of a session we did with a media company.  The key is to understand what is in place and then discuss possible options.  Here’s the process:

  1. Write the objectives of the company in a list on the leftFM Whiteboard Discussion
  2. Outline the applications and systems in place on the right with the major functions of the company
    1. Yes, unfortunately including Excel, which is used the wrong way all the time (for data storage).
    2. Brainstorm on recommendations and options that may achieve the objectives
    3. Have the team pick the top 5
      1. Diagram as Option 1 and what systems and people it will impact
      2. Discuss costs associated with each of the 5
      3. Have the team pick a second top 5
        1. Diagram as Option 2 and what systems and people it will impact
        2. Discuss costs associated with each of the 5
        3. Identify costs, benefits and issues with both
        4. Pick One and Do It!!

Pretty straight forward, huh?  Well the big win for everyone are the discussions that take place as team members pick the two “Top 5’s” and discuss why they earn those spots.  They debate the relationships between priorities and which priorities take precedence over others regardless of whose priority it is.  The key take away is that people often want to do their projects but don’t understand the objectives of the company.  This exercise opens up communication and eliminates success barriers because if an executive’s project isn’t in the top 5, he or she knows why.

TAKE THESE ACTIONS NOW

  • Do a whiteboard visioning session to see how aligned you actually are
  • Conduct daily Rhythm/Huddle meetings or conference call with your immediate team.  Huddles should be 5 to 15 minutes max, no one sits down, and everyone gets a quick turn to update the team on the following:
    • Quick update on any company-related news everyone should know
    • A win from the previous day
    • An issue that need to be put on the table
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: this is not the time to explain your day
    • Have your team read Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
      • This will help them understand why alignment matters and how to get there

You will be amazed at how much a daily 5 to 15 minute call can align your team.  I do mine at 8:08, as they should not be on even times because this increases the accuracy of people being on time.  If you don’t have conference capabilities, use a free service.

Do the Rhythm Meetings for 45 days and let me know if you experience a more synergized aligned team.

Comment if you have any questions.