Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.—Brian Tracy.
As leaders, we sometimes think we have a strong awareness of how our team thinks, that we have shared priorities, that we build the necessary relationships needed to succeed, and that we have the work culture we desire.
In working with a number of organizations, we found that teams weren’t as aligned with their leader as the leader had hoped, and some team members shared that they were never asked about their perceptions, opinions, and feelings.
Are you aligned with your team? Have you validated that?
Below are 4 questions we recommend you ask your team:
- WHAT IS THE NUMBER 1 PRIORITY OF OUR TEAM?
- WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE CHANGE?
- PICK ONE WORD THAT DESCRIBES OUR TEAM CULTURE.
- PICK ONE WORD THAT DESCRIBES THE CULTURE OF OUR ENTIRE COMPANY.
Note: We can also administer a more formal assessment that provides comprehensive results and action items.
You may want it to keep it confidential or you may want it to be a team event and have fun with it. Either way, we suggest you capture and share the answers (without pointing out who said what). Look for commonalities, but don’t disregard “one off” comments.
Now it’s debrief time:
- Were there any surprises?
- How varied were the responses?
- Was there a great disparity between the words that described the culture of your team versus the culture of the company?
- And most importantly, what were the results for your teams #1 priority?
- Let your team know that what they think and feel are important to you, and that leveraging individual and collective strengths is essential for achieving desired outcomes.
And you’ve heard this before, but Patrick Lencioni shares that teams are most successful when they focus on collective results, hold one another accountable, commit and persist, engage in healthy conflict, and trust one another.
Are you and your team in alignment?
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One thing we’ve talked a lot about, even in the first leadership meeting, was, what’s the purpose of our leadership team? The framework we came up with is the notion that our purpose is to bring clarity, alignment and intensity.– Satya Nadella