Align your team… in 5 minutes

14th January 2014

Is your team aligned?

Do they all know what you stand for?

Do they embody it?

When they do, great things happen. When they don’t, it’s harder to succeed – slower decision making, people acting off-brand, a confused team, confused stakeholders…

To see how aligned your team is, here’s a quick exercise – my ‘5 in 5’:

Step 1: trigger ideas

Get your team together. Give them five minutes to summarise what your team’s purpose is. In only five words. They must each work on their own, and think about it for the full five minutes.

Step 2: discuss ideas

The next phase is for people to share answers. If your team is small-ish, you might go straight into a group discussion. If it’s larger, maybe ask them to pair off and discuss with their neighbour first, before sharing.

Step 3: align ideas

The desired outcome from the exercise is that everyone leaves the room knowing what your team stands for, buys into it and their role in it.

So the final step is to bring everyone’s ideas together to create/formalise your purpose. Depending on the team, you might arrive at this through: group discussion; a leader-led ‘X is our purpose, and this is how your five words fits with it’; or somewhere in between.

When you’ve finished, it might not be exactly five words. But you’ll have something that’s correct, short, memorable and – critically – something people buy into.

Steve Jobs used to talk about making ‘insanely great products’. Our purpose is ‘empowerment through communication’. What’s yours?

Action point

Why not do the three steps in your next team meeting? It won’t take long! But you’ll end up knowing your people were aligned; or they weren’t but now are – both are very useful.

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