By Jennifer Faught
Your team is not engaged because your people are not aligned.
Most organizations are made up of different departments that operate on different timelines, agendas, and strategies. When departments or teams work in isolation, it is commonly known as silo mentality. That environment, unfortunately, can restrict efficiency and innovation in an organization, reduce morale, and contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.
One study from The Economist Intelligence Unit shows that 46% of employees say they receive unclear information from their boss or manager up to three times a day. Think about the exponential effect that has on an organization. The misalignment can cause team members to spend extra time on tasks and possibly not perform them to the company’s expectations, which can ultimately lead to missing larger company goals.
What most people don’t understand is that the main breakdown should be 1% strategy and 99% execution.
How do you get your team aligned?
It’s usually easier said than done. But the good news is, it’s completely doable.
Teams will often put a lot of time and effort into creating a beautiful 50-page strategy report. Despite the amount of energy they will spend outlining a strategy, the plan ends up collecting dust and is never looked at again.
In this case, the strategy never gets executed because it’s too detailed for anyone to wrap their heads
around and put into action. To make the strategy attainable, align your team around one goal your organization needs to accomplish this quarter to move the business forward—or identify a choke point or bottleneck, and address it first.
Your No. 1 goal should be the “lead domino”—the one initiative, priority, or critical number that, when pursued, makes it easier for your company to accomplish everything else. This becomes your center point for the quarter. Also, you can only pick one goal or things will get diluted.
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How do you choose the most critical thing to do?
It’s simple: Look at your BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal), something you want your organization to accomplish in the next 10, 15, 20 years. It’s not a one-year goal—it’s something large and bold. It becomes the anchor for your ongoing company strategy.
Then, determine the measurable next step of your goal that can be accomplished in 90 days and drive its execution using strategies you’ve already determined with your team. The focus should be on execution and accomplishing the goal together as a team.
It takes discipline to outline your top company priority and to align your team to rally around this critical issue. But it is worth the effort. When everyone understands why a goal is important, they will work together to move the business forward.
Engage your employees
Most of your time should go into aligning staff on the front lines—people who actually do the work, interact with customers, and make things happen—and getting them to buy into the plan. That way, they can move together as a unit, rather than being dragged along by company executives.
Many of the companies I work with use a quarterly theme as a fun motif to rally everyone around the No. 1 goal. For example, a company that wants to up their revenue by $100,000 might come up with a “$100,000 Pyramid” theme, in which they work their way up the pyramid toward their goal by completing smaller tasks.
You can build a lot of momentum by setting up a reward system for different levels of achievement and awarding points for activities that move the business toward hitting the goal.
However, a theme will not work because you “made it fun” or call it a cool name. It works because it adds discipline, rigor, and excitement into reaching your overall goal. Everyone sees the progress and feels like they are winning. The benefit extends beyond the theme time frame because the true value is in the alignment and achievement that the organization builds together over time.
Employee engagement starts with a great strategy and requires discipline and phenomenal execution. Once your people are engaged, you will see your business grow.
Jennifer Faught is a Petra Coach and entrepreneur who brings a quiet intensity to helping people align intentional action with beliefs. She spent the past five years coaching creative business owners on how to scale their companies while simultaneously building a nationwide online learning platform for business owners. Jennifer has served on the leadership team for a family-owned SaaS and IT business as well as a venture-backed healthcare company. As an entrepreneur, she launched a graphic design business and sold her learning platform, which grew over 450% in four years.
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