When a team is on the same page, they work well together, they get things done. It’s a great place to be. There’s a great atmosphere. People are motivated and fulfilled. People are happy. The work is rewarding, there is return on the investment, and it helps the team to be able to function well and to go the long distance.
Unfortunately, when a team is not on the same page and not working well together, work doesn’t get done, or maybe it doesn’t get done to the quality that it should. There are lots of bumps along the way. There can be infighting. People are demotivated. People leave the organisation. Knowledge gets lost. There are really poor things that happen and impact in a negative way.
So the deep question is:
What is the common ground that helps to have people and teams be aligned and on the same page?
There are four places that can make or break a team and an organisation.
The first one is the culture of the organisation or the culture of the team.
The second one is the communication that takes place between people. Sometimes there can just be a misunderstanding because things aren’t communicated on the right channel or to the right people at the right time.
The third one is the workflows. Work usually gets done and achieves its end goal, but it’s not done in a very systematic way. Maybe there are too many links in the chain, too many steps in the process.
The fourth one is the systems. Sometimes the systems are not set up well enough, or maybe people don’t know how to use the systems to support the work that needs to happen.
It can be easy to blame the system. It’s definitely an easier target than pointing out a cultural or communication issue, but on closer inspection at the underlying problem, it might not be the system that’s the issue.
For some people, it can be easy to blame someone else directly. It might be a colleague, a manager, or someone on another team. Perhaps another department is blamed for apparent failtures within the organisation. Sadly, this happens all too often, and it’s not a positive environment for anybody to work in.
How do we build a bridge to have alignment and to have a common goal together?
Find Common Values
Values are a critical foundation of any team. They define the team’s culture and beliefs. It is essential to identify the common values that the team members share. When everyone on the team understands and shares these values, it creates a sense of purpose and direction. It is easier to work towards a shared goal when the team is united around a set of common values.
It is important to have values in place that can be supported by the whole organisation. These values need to be agreed and adhered to. They need to filter through into the work that is done. It’s not just about having a few words. Part of it is having common terminology so that people can share the same language, but the language needs to be lived out in the work that is done and how it is approached. If you have not been through this process before, start by coming up with three or four simple shared values and then decide on one or two ways to tangibly live these values out within your team.
One way to identify the common values is to have an open discussion with the team members. This discussion can be facilitated by a manager or team leader. Each member can share their own values and beliefs, and the team can work together to find common ground. Once the common values have been identified, they should be incorporated into the team’s mission and vision statements. This will ensure that they are at the forefront of the team’s goals and objectives.
Another important element to help build a bridge is to listen well. Active listening has become much more common and it is important to remember that we cannot fully understand what other people think. We might pretend we do or think that we do. But in reality, if we have an open mind and really start to listen, then we can begin to understand what other people are experiencing and what they need.
Active listening is a critical skill that can be overlooked in the workplace. It involves paying attention to the speaker, understanding their message, and responding appropriately. Active listening is essential in building team alignment because it shows that team members are valued and respected.
Active listening involves more than just hearing what someone is saying. It requires giving the speaker your undivided attention, asking clarifying questions, and paraphrasing what they have said to ensure understanding. When team members feel heard and understood, it creates a sense of trust and rapport.
Ask Open Questions
Then the third element to building a bridge is to ask good, open questions, not just closed questions that are not constructive. Asking open questions is a technique used to encourage conversation and promote understanding. Open questions require more than a simple yes or no answer, which can help team members expand on their thoughts and ideas. They allow team members to share their perspectives and contribute to the conversation.
Open questions can help to uncover potential conflicts or issues within the team. For example, a manager could ask, “What do you think could be improved in our team’s communication?” This question allows team members to share their thoughts and ideas, and it can help identify areas where the team could improve.
Remember that you are not in competition with others in your workplace. You are on the same team. Building team alignment requires effort and commitment from every team member. It involves finding common values, active listening, and asking open questions. When team members share a common purpose and understand each other’s perspectives, they are more likely to work together effectively. Effective team alignment can improve communication, increase productivity, and create a more positive work environment.
It is important for organisations to invest time and resources into building team alignment. A team that is aligned and motivated is more likely to achieve success. If you’re looking to improve your team alignment, start by having an open discussion about common values, practice active listening, and encourage open communication by asking open questions.
If you need further guidance or support, reach out to us and we will help you build a more effective team culture and help your team be on the same page.