It's not complicated.
There are really just two things needed to get and keep everyone on our teams moving in the same direction. If we get two things right, not only can everything else begin to line up... synergy can begin to happen!
The two requirements for vision alignment are clarity and accountability.
We so often wrongly assume everyone will just “get it” when it comes to the vision. We tend to think that just by hanging out around us and the organization that we lead, that somehow by osmosis, everyone will understand and align themselves with the vision. Uh... no. It doesn’t work that way! As the team leader, it is our responsibility to ensure the vision is clear to everyone.
Is the vision of your organization clear to everyone? Try this exercise. Walk into one of your next leadership meetings with Post It Notes and hand a sheet to everyone. Ask them to write out what your vision is. Give them thirty seconds. Then place all the Post-It Notes side by side on the wall. Prepare to be surprised!
Our teams also deserve clarity about the expectations we have for them. Mapping out distinct goals and setting definitive deadlines, measurables, and clear wins gives everyone a clear understanding of what’s expected!
What’s the only thing worse than a team member not knowing where the target is? A leader who either doesn’t know or doesn’t communicate what the target is!
Especially when we seek to enact change, communication is not the only critical element; we also need a plan to hold people accountable. In consulting with leaders, I’ve often found that many of them do a good job with clarity, but alignment isn’t happening. Why? The second requirements is often missing: Accountability. After we’ve been clear as to what the bulls-eye is, then we must hold ourselves and others accountable to hitting the target!
In Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni says that one of the five dysfunctions is “Inattention To Results.” In other words, they set goals and priorities. They just don’t hold themselves accountable to seeing those results!
Action plans, consistent coaching and debriefing, honest conversations, and regular performance reviews should be a part of any healthy organization. The vision must get done. The vision is boss. We must not only be clear on the vision. We must also be held accountable for doing our part in accomplishing it!
By the way, I know of no better way to align your team that working through a resource together! When I wrote Be Mean About The Vision: Preserving & Protecting What Matters, I included questions for reflection and discussion at the end of every chapter! If you want to align your team, get copies of the book, assign a chapter, discuss the questions, and watch alignment happen!