At first glance, your car’s wheels look aligned. They’re all (we hope) pointing in the same direction. But there’s a reason your local mechanic offers wheel alignment services: unseen to the naked eye, your tires could become slightly misaligned. At best, the misalignment creates uneven and costly tire damage; at worst, it potentially sends your car off the road.
Your business faces the same invisible alignment problems with your employees. Sure, they may seem aligned because they show up for work, in uniform, and they drive the company truck to a customer’s home. But if that’s how you’re measuring alignment in your service business, you could still have the potential for invisible misalignment that leads to costly damage or even running your business off the road!
Alignment happens when all of your team is moving in the same direction: instead of just showing up for work, they are excited about performing at their very best for a shared goal, objective, or target. You’ll save time, money, and effort because your team will work together more effectively, and you’ll achieve and even surpass your business goals faster when your team is aligned.
Here’s a simple test to know how aligned your team is: If I walked into your business right now and asked your General Manager what your company’s vision and quarterly goals are, would they be able to tell me? Perhaps they could. But then if I continued through your office to your warehouse area and asked the warehouse guy mopping your floor what your company’s vision and quarterly goals are, could he repeat word-for-word the same information as the General Manager? And, would that warehouse guy be able to tell me how he contributes to the vision and the quarterly goal? That’s a powerful test of your team’s alignment.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that one part-time employee in the warehouse doesn’t need to know the company’s vision or quarterly goals! On a boat, when all the rowers are in sync, the boat can quickly move through the water, but if just one rower is out of sync, it can disrupt everything.
There’s true power and measurable business results when your team is aligned. Fortunately, creating align is straightforward and can even be fun and very rewarding.
5 Ways to Create Alignment on Your Team
- Start with a very strong vision of what you want for your company a few years down the road. The clearer and stronger your vision is, the better you can communicate it to others — and you should share that vision with everyone and get buy-in from everyone. Then, reverse-engineer that vision into goals and set one big, inspiring goal each quarter for your team to work toward.
- Share your vision right from the very beginning, even when recruiting your team. If a potential new hire doesn’t get excited and buy into your vision, they may not be the right fit for your company. Your new hires should be inspired by your vision and understand perfectly how they fit in — and contribute to — that vision.
- Communicate with everyone on your team to show them how they fit into the vision. Everyone should see they (not just their job) is a key contributor to the vision.
- Hold daily meetings with your team to reconnect their daily work with your vision and the quarterly goals. (If you have a small company, hold a daily meeting with everyone; if you have a large company, hold a daily meeting with your managers, and they should hold daily meetings with their team.) Keep these meetings fast, high energy, and inspiring.
- Build all employee performance measurements around the vision. (Too often, a company creates a vision but then measures something completely differently… and then wonders why the vision is never achieved.) When your employees know your vision and their performance is measured by an aspect of it, you’ll see forward progress.
Is this easy? No. Is it quick? No. But when you implement this and stick with it, you’ll create a significant transformation in your business by aligning everyone and getting them all moving in the same direction.
Every team member shows up to work and operates as “the public face” of your company. And, while many of your employees may appear at first glance to be moving in the right direction, they may not actually be aligned and moving your company forward as effectively as you think.
Fortunately, there’s a simple test and then five clear strategies you can do to get your team aligned and moving forward.
You’ll benefit, your business will benefit, your employees will benefit, and your customers will benefit – all from making sure your team is aligned.