The Wheels of Team Alignment
When people are aligned, good things happen.
Clearly understanding the goals, strategies, and tactics critical for success keeps everyone engaged and on point with the things that matter. A team rowing in the same direction and toward the same island is said to be aligned.
This is easier said than done. What makes alignment so difficult is the wide array of items leaders and teams must see eye-to-eye on.
To be fully aligned, a team must have a common understanding of goals, priorities, values, strategy, tactics, expectations, and metrics, to name just the obvious set. Getting everyone on a team or in the organization on the same wavelength is hard work. It requires honest discussion and debate and constant communication.
Hardest of all, alignment is always temporary. It is an everyday job. The water doesn’t stay hot without a constant flame.
Beyond the obvious benefit of everyone moving together toward the same outcomes, alignment creates commitment. Committed team members are more responsible, more accountable, more engaged, and more self-motivated. That’s why aligning the team is worth the effort.
The only way to achieve alignment is with a series of meetings that occur like clockwork. In every one of these forums, one or more of the critical elements of alignment will be articulated and discussed. The best teams always use a portion of any meeting time for Q&A with the team leader. This gets everyone heard and all issues raised.
The ideal meeting cadence looks like this: daily huddles or check-ins, weekly reviews, monthly strategy discussions, and quarterly planning sessions. While this sounds like a lot of meetings, they actually save time in the long run. There’s no other way to create alignment without this ongoing flow of communication.
Teams and organizations that are aligned move faster and operate more efficiently. They avoid getting off course by incessantly communicating goals, strategy, and tactics.
When the wheels of a car are perfectly aligned, the ride is smooth and fast. The same is true for teams.