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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

5 Ways to Ensure Team Alignment

Whether you’re managing a two-person operation or a department of 100, it’s nearly impossible for your organization to grow and move on to the next chapter of success if your whole team isn’t on the same page.

Teams are at their best when they work cohesively and rally around shared goals. Alignment in the workplace occurs when all team members have a better understanding of company goals and have a clear vision for collective (and individual) long-term success. It isn’t enough to know the end destination; you need to all be rowing in the same direction.

Here are five ways to help encourage better team alignment in your business:

1. Communicate your purpose and strategy from the top down

Are frontline employees less likely than company leaders to say that they understand how their role contributes to purpose. If so this poses a considerable barrier to team alignment.

Aligning your organization begins with establishing and articulating your organizational purpose and strategy. While the CEO’s role in communicating the company purpose and strategy is an important one, management is responsible for translating how it applies to teams and individuals.

2. Tie people’s individual contributions to the overall business objectives

When people understand their role in your company’s grand plan, great things happen. Hanover Research found that 86% of senior leaders reported a 5% or greater increase in employee satisfaction when employees felt that their work was aligned with strategic goals and initiatives.

One proven way to track this is through the objectives and key results (OKRs) model. OKR is a collaborative goal-setting framework used by teams and individuals. It has helped companies to plan and measure success in alignment with their overall company strategies.

3. Encourage peer-to-peer collaboration over competition

Collaborative workplaces reward teamwork and encourage trust among employees. This prevents the old-school dog-eat-dog workplaces of previous generations.

4. Celebrate team wins

Recognizing individual’s and team’s large and small accomplishments encourages employees and reminds them that you value their contributions. Recognize individuals regularly, encourage peer-to-peer recognition, and even involve cross-functional teams by hosting in-person or virtual social events to celebrate cross-team collaboration and successes.

When recognizing individual and team accomplishments, tie them to wider organizational strategies to continually drive home the impact they have on the company’s purpose.

5. Use a collaborative planning process

Build the right processes and implement the right tools for team alignment to thrive. Using a collaborative planning process can help you get all the information you need to marry bottom-up tactical planning with top-down organizational strategy. Involving teams early on will help with engagement and close the communication gap between leadership and frontline workers.

Team alignment has a significant impact on the overall performance of your business. Without clear communication on your organization’s goals and shared company values, your team members might find it challenging to present a united front and stay engaged.

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