Don’t run before you can jump… Get your goals aligned first!

by Roger Longden | Aug 30, 2018

time icon 3 mins

Are all your employees working towards a common goal? If they are, that’s great. However, chances are they’re not. People can be naturally curious and easily distracted and, even within an organisation, are likely to have a wide range of different ideas, both about what they want from the business and where they see it going.

What does an aligned team look like? Outside of work, I am a passionate rower. A rowing team is one of the rare instances where you actually find an aligned team. Out on the water a crew has a clear goal: get from A to B as fast as possible. Because of this shared goal, each oarsman knows they have to row in perfect timing with the rest of the crew and put in their maximum effort to reach it.

The result of this is a boat that moves straight, fast and efficiently towards the finish line – and when it works it’s a thing of beauty, I’m sure you’ve seen the Olympic rowing.

Compare this perfect picture to the reality of most businesses. Few are anywhere near as unified as a rowing crew. In the business world, the desired outcome is not as clear as a finish line and often much of the team won’t know where the boat is what pace they should be rowing at or the timing of when to row.

Organisations are complex, even smaller ones. This intricacy can often cause goals to be massively out of sync.

Clear goals… If your goals are aligned with strong habits to manage them, then it’s likely your team will know which direction the boat is going in and when and how hard to row.

More often than you’d think, a company will introduce goals without consensus from each member of the leadership team. This is a great strategy to follow providing you want your business to be changeless and your team out of sync. Strategies such as this are probably why 75% of change initiatives fail.

To get your team into alignment, it is essential that you create as much transparency as possible around your company standards and values. In an open environment, each team member feels accountable for achieving the business’s common goals. Responsibility for achieving your team’s common goals is felt by all.

What’s more, in a space of open communication, your team is more likely to speak out if they do not agree with your company’s goals. This stops any widely unpopular goals slipping through because employees don’t feel they can challenge against them at a preliminary stage.

Strong values… Having a shared set of values is important if you want your team to work as one. Your business’s values should define the way your team members work towards their goals.

If you only do one thing with your values, you should let each team work out what they look like for them. Integrity means something very different in sales to what it means in finance.

In our work with clients, it quickly becomes clear whether or not their values are embedded throughout their teams. As soon as we begin to get an idea of their company culture, we can see whether a company has them or not.

Ideally, values should represent what a brand is about. This avoids any mismatch between your office culture and the image you project to the market place. If the two are consistent, it will be second nature for your team to convey what your business is about to prospects, leads and clients. If they aren’t, people will be suspicious about your business.

Come talk to one of our Giants here if you want to know more about aligning your goals and defining and embedding your values.