Slightly more than one-third of companies have a standard approach to setting goals. Of those that do have company-wide goals, 76% of them have cascading goals which start with the CEO and upper management and trickles down to the lowest employees. Along the way, the clarity of these goals decrease so that only 16% of the employees at the bottom have a clear understanding of them.
The further down you go in the organization, the greater risk for team members to be unclear as to what the goals and priorities are. This uncertainty creates friction and lack of direction for the team and often leads to a failure to execute on strategic initiatives. A small gap in alignment among the executive team can become an uncrossable chasm further down in the organization.
What is a Misaligned Team?
Lack of clarity around and agreement with purpose, values, vision, goals, priorities, and roles results in misaligned teams. Teams that are misaligned have off-kilter team dynamics. Misaligned teams lose focus and morale and become ineffective in meeting goals. A team that is not aligned has lower productivity and performance.
Some other characteristics of misaligned teams include :
- A lack of trust, accountability, responsibility, and commitment among group members
- Things not getting done
- Miscommunication or lack of communication
- Lowered motivation and morale
- Disorganization and people not being “on the same page”
- Unresolved issues
- Lack of openness, collaboration, and inclusion
- Confusion about priorities, vision, and goals
Team alignment is when everyone on the team is on the same page concerning the team’s purpose, values, vision, goals, priorities, and roles. Leaders must be sure to communicate the vision and goals to their team in a clear way. All members of the team must buy-in to the vision and goals to be upheld and achieved. An aligned team is unified and each member uses their unique strengths and skills to bring group success.
Even teams who were previously aligned are at risk of misalignment during times of transition and growth. As a team leader, the quicker you establish (or re-establish) team alignment, the better your team’s performance, productivity, and communication will be.
You’ll know your team leadership is aligned when:
- Group communication, productivity, and performance improve
- There is an increase in morale and motivation among team members
- Staff turnover decreases
- The team can quickly adapt to challenges and changing circumstances
- Decisions are made faster
- Team goals are achieved more efficiently
Prevent an Unproductive Workplace With an Aligned Leadership Team
Your organization’s communication of its purpose, vision and values enables employees to see where the organization is going and why it matters. Goals, priorities and roles help them see where they fit into the journey and how they can be part of making it a reality. When team members aren’t aware of the organization’s vision and their role in achieving it, the group can become disorganized, engagement can plummet and with-it productivity and results.
How the Team Alignment Survey Helps Teams Succeed
Leaders tend to look at the achievement of KPIs when assessing team performance. While stats and benchmarks are necessary to determine whether the team is achieving goals, more intangible issues with team dynamics can hinder KPI achievement. The lack of buy-in or clarity of the team’s purpose, vision , values, goals, priorities, and roles are two of these intangible issues that hinder the team’s ability to achieve its goals and KPIs.
Team alignment starts with the leadership team. If they are not clear and in agreement with the purpose, vision, and values and can’t communicate the “why” behind them, the lack of alignment will cascade down through the rest of the organization.
The Team Alignment Survey helps leadership teams foster alignment through group and individual assessments of the following areas:
- Purpose – Why was the team created?
- Vision – What is the team to become?
- Values – How does the team operate and what are the agreed-upon standards of conduct when interacting with each other?
- Goals – What are the team’s short-term goals that must be accomplished to achieve its vision?
- Priorities – What are the things the group needs to devote time and energy to achieve its goals?
- Roles – Who will be in charge of doing what for projects to get done and goals met?
These six categories are measured based on how clearly they are communicated and the level of buy-in from each member of the team. The survey also addresses the level of trust amongst group members. Often, the group members will be too intimidated by the leader or afraid to look foolish to ask for clarification of these six areas. Leaders can take this lack of conflict as a sign that their team is aligned when it is not. This assessment notifies leaders of gaps between their perceived clarity and support of team goals and the unnoticed misalignment. The areas of group misalignment are identified to enable leaders to make the appropriate adjustments when communicating with their team. The team alignment assessment is a valuable tool Executive and Leadership times, HR professionals, and teams at all levels of the organization.
Want to know more about the Team Alignment Survey and how it can help your group? Contact Action- Strategies-By-Design for a complimentary consultation to learn how the Team Alignment Survey can help your team develop the trust necessary to align around purpose, values, vision, goals, priorities and roles.