Align teams with your goals, vision, and value and enjoy the ride. It’s simple as that. When you sync teams with the overarching vision, you get maximal efficacy. It’s unbeatable and uncanny. Almost as if each team member acts as an engaged and caring parent. When you align teams, what you reap is what you sow. Full convergence of talent, wits, skill, experience, and know-how. Here’s how to align teams and help them reach short-term goals.
What it means to align teams
Align teams to get maximized productivity with limited resources. It’s not a secret. To align teams, you need all-levels clarity over what goes on in your organization. Because when you align teams, you increase productivity and overall effectiveness.
Essentially, you create a form of collective consciousness. Some sort of organizational intelligence. Same as telling rowers on a boat what the destination is. Everybody gets involved. Excited even.
Besides, when you align teams you optimize work. That in itself is enough to motivate you. You might have some of the best talent on the team. You might even have exceptionally motivated individuals. Self-determined leaders and well-oiled teams. However, if you don’t align teams, it won’t go as well as you hope. What’s the point of a race car without a pilot? Or the perfect care engine without the right chassis? There hardly is any.
Team alignment is, to a certain extent, engagement. It means that your teams are actively involved with your organization. That they understand goals and want to reach set goals. And that they have a personal relation with how their goal fits with company goals.
Imagine an organization in which any member of any team has a clear idea about what’s going on. For example, the challenges you face with your recent expansion. Or what’s the deal is with the new app update for IOS 11.2.
The advantages far outweigh productivity, efficacy, and engagement. There is an overall boost in morale. A sense of entitlement and ownership. Teams become invested in your organization. And that means they care. With the result that they outperform themselves in every way. Hence, gear that focus towards short-term goals.
4 ways to align teams for short-term goals
Any group of people develops some form of shared intelligence. When putting team efforts together, the result is often better than individual efforts. This is, by now, obvious. Teams that work well together output superior work. This is even true on an individual level.
Meaning that individuals perform better in teams than alone. Hence, it makes perfect sense to invest in teams and teamwork. Just to clarify, groups and teams are two different things. Teams have shared goals and a different dynamic.
But shared intelligence can also be pretty dumb. It’s more of a capacity, really. Think about it this way. An individual has a sense of self, memory, personal history. Meanwhile, teams have work traditions and organizational culture. Similar, but different. Team share a more forgetful group intelligence. Even if you use smart team communications that get indexed automatically.
For teams, long-term goals are further away than for individuals. Hence, let’s try to align teams with short-term goals.
1. Flatten hierarchies
The absence of a clear-cut leader figure is interesting for teams. Less overhead means greater productivity. In a sense, however, what you get is some form of power void.
In effect, this will align teams. Why? Because it’s the team as a whole that will step in to ensure everything works well. There are many companies with flat hierarchies. The effect is increased accountability and reliability. Indeed, the absence of a central authority figure can empower teams.
The first thing the team does is get acquainted with their goals. What is it that they can do to be successful? That will be something the team will discuss and develop, without going through too many boring meetings. In fact, team members will try and be more useful in meetings. In effect, what you get is a team that is well-aware of company goals and values. And can now set and reach set goals with greater responsibility.
Yet, flattening hierarchies might be difficult to implement in some companies. No worries, you can delegate to teams instead.
When you delegate, you invest someone with trust. And that someone will notice. They will become accountable. And they will want to prove their reliability.
Delegating done right is, above all, a motivational tool. It allows leaders to showcase trust in team members. To measure competence and develop future talents. It’s also a great way to mentor someone. And a splendid topic to cover during regular one-on-one meetings.
Delegation is a great way to motivate teams while limiting decision fatigue. In fact, delegating to teams and team decisions are two great ways to align teams. Why? Because when you prioritize team decisions, you get the whole team engaged.
Engaging the team ensures everyone is well-aware of what it is they should accomplish. It puts things in perspective. What’s more, it builds team trust. And team trust in itself can align teams.
3. Develop trust
Developing team trust has two direct effects. One is on resilience. Teams with high levels of trust are more resilient. They fight the good fight.
Secondly, trust boosts productivity. Why? Because trust means that your team communications are effective. That team members expect each other to follow through. And that everyone knows they have a fall back option.
Trust will directly affect work-related stress and work pressure. You can’t trust other people without kindness and empathy. By the way, you read about work pressure in this dedicated series. It’s worthwhile.
When your team becomes resilient, you get a productivity boost. When they’re less stressed, you get a creativity boost. Above all, trust means your team emphasizes with overarching goals.
4. Use goal contagion and company culture
You can use goal contagion to generate positivity. What about? The whole idea of team alignment. You can display positive attitudes about how the overall work is meaningful. Even though individual tasks may well not be. At the end of the day, it all fits together and generates value. And that makes work meaningful. Millennials in particular want to do meaningful work.
Goal contagion is when you inspire others to be more productive. This does not have to be leader-driven. Any team member can “infect” the team with enthusiasm. At the core, goal contagion is similar to random acts of kindness. It’s an infusion of positivity.
And this works best about understanding the company mission and values. Add to this a well-developed company culture. It’s a great way to align teams.