Step #2 in the Strategy Sprint to develop a sustainable Execution Habit: Get the Team in Sync
Team misalignment is the biggest obstacle to strategy execution. We’ve documented that 92% of CEOs believe their teams agree with, and can clearly communicate their strategy; while less than 2% of leadership teams can list the same priorities.
Teams out of sync on strategy waste time, energy and resources as the individual members plow ahead on their interpretation of the company strategy without a united focus. A team out of sync often lacks focus and accountability on the right priorities. However, we’ve seen that teams aligned and focused on accomplishing the same PRIMARY Goal and the top priorities generate at least a 20% increase in performance.
Does this describe your team?
…a group of well-intentioned executives who have a good understanding of the details of their business. But they don’t spend much time thinking or talking about why their organization exists or what values should drive their behaviors. Though they talk about being more strategic, they can’t really articulate a simple, clear strategy, and they don’t have a consistent method for evaluating decisions. The leadership team is constantly managing against a long list of eclectic goals, some of which may not be compatible and most of which pertain to only a few members of the team. Moreover, most team members have somewhat limited knowledge about and interest in the specific responsibilities of their peers.
Patrick Lencioni, from his book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business
If you “resemble” that description, you’re in good company.
The How and What
Almost all teams are out of sync on critical issues to some degree. Although most CEOs are surprised at the degree of misalignment, most of them acknowledge the problem. They just don’t know how to identify where the team is misaligned on critical growth issues, like those issues I identified in my previous post (link), or what steps they should take to get the team in sync.
Our company leads breakout sessions at Inc. meetings around the country. In one session my partner asked the audience, “How many of you think your team is in sync on your company’s top priorities?” Not one hand. We’ve seen the same response over the past few years with hundreds of CEOs. Without alignment on critical issues like those I detailed in a previous post the company cannot prepare for the inevitable growth transitions that will occur when it’s too big to be small and too small to be big – the stage we call No Man’s Land.
Team alignment can become a competitive advantage for your company because so few companies do it. The first step toward team alignment is to schedule a one-day workshop for the team to identify and agree on your company’s PRIMARY Goal, Priorities, Action Points, and non-operational Metrics. I’ll describe these categories in my next few posts.