Hopefully at some point in time in your career, you’ve experienced what it’s like to work on a team where everyone is laser focused on a common goal. It has a really powerful impact on outcomes, productivity, and the morale within your organization.
Previously, I had shared some strategies to help with complex decision making, and the importance of testing assumptions. But what do you do once you’ve made a decision? How do you keep the energy alive that comes from having a clear vision of the future now? How do you align everyone around that vision to create laser focus and action toward a common goal?
Really the hard work has just begun. And as a leader, you’ll have to invest some time and energy into aligning your team, or the decision you just made won’t go anywhere. Open communication and transparency are key factors in creating alignment. The earlier you can involve others in the process, the better.
Sharing information sends others the message that you trust them and you want them to be part of the decision and to help with implementation. If you’ve made the decision, you have likely spent weeks, or maybe even months, working through the details. You’ve had plenty of time to process the change and how it will affect the organization.
We know that people’s initial reaction to anything new is skepticism. Even those on your team who embrace change and new ideas will have questions and “what if” scenarios that have the potential to zap the life out of any idea or initiative.
Your role as a leader is to inspire your team to help them see a clear picture of the end goal, and then to align people and get them heading in the right direction. To do this, people need to be involved as early and as frequently as possible. So be transparent, share as much information as possible, including the process that you went through to make the decision; and more importantly why you made the decision in the first place.
Make it safe for individuals to share their opinions and bring tough ideas to light. We have a tendency to dismiss others who don’t agree with us and view those individuals as naysayers or resistant to change. However, they can have valuable information that may have the transition or the change go more smoothly. So embrace different perspectives.
Also, don’t micromanage every detail. Rather, focus on the end goal or the vision that you desire. Engage others to help and guide; and navigate how to get there. Recognize that we may not have thought of everything, so remain flexible. And allow others to build upon and improve your original idea or decision. Together, we can make it even better.
Finally, set benchmarks that track and measure the progress that’s being made. And again, share that information with the team that you’re leading. Information has a powerful effect on behavior. With clear expectations, measurable benchmarks of success, and feedback, you will gain the momentum that you need to reach your goal. What are you going to do?