by Phil Manington

Making it happen – alignment

Key message

Giving people freedom without alignment leads to anarchy.

You need to establish a vision for your team that is aligned to both department and company goals.

The vision must also be consistent with each individual team member’s sense of purpose and be supported by an agreed set of team values. Since empowered people will feel free to pursue their own goals, this will ensure that what they do is also good for you and for your company. In addition, it will allow each individual in the team to understand what they must do to be successful and to get their own needs met at the same time.

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.

Dwight D Eisenhower

Your vision might include the following elements:

  • The results you need to achieve
  • The environment you aim to operate in
  • The behaviour you agree that team members will adopt
  • The capabilities of individual team members
  • The values and beliefs of the team
  • The team identity.

You also have a responsibility to yourself. If you develop and maintain your own personal vision of what you want from life, then you can be confident that your contributions to the visions of both the company and your team are aligned with your own goals. This will ensure that you get satisfaction from your work and that you act in a truly authentic way in implementing these visions.

Unless you are the CEO, your team vision will have to fit into a bigger picture – from the company or division. But it is not a one-way process. You also have a responsibility to give feedback if you feel that the bigger picture needs to be changed.

In discussing issues with your team, you have a key pivotal role, which involves persuading them about higher level decisions that can’t be changed. You will also be listening to their views and championing their cause if you believe that they are right and that higher level change would be beneficial.

This gives the following picture:

Key tip

People are motivated to do what makes them feel good. Make sure that this is also good for you.