How do I get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction?
“If everything is important, nothing is.” When you’re talking about a team that is working together to get things done, this is a very pertinent statement. It’s great that you have a team that is working together and taking on tasks. It’s great that they are meeting deadline and accomplishing things together. But it’s not enough. As the leader of the team you need to make sure everyone is united around a common purpose.
Quite often employees don’t know what the overall objectives are for the company. They don’t necessarily know the areas in which the CEO wants to specifically focus this quarter. That’s where they need you to pull them together and help guide them in the same direction.
We’ve put together four areas you as a leader can focus to help move your team forward.
1) Goals and Priorities
The word priority is defined as “A thing that is regarded as more important than another.” Yes, we probably think there are about 10 things that should be considered a priority, but that can’t be the case. It’s time to really look at everything you and your team have going on and define what the priorities are. Start by asking yourself and your team, “What is more important than the others?”
I good rule of thumb is to have a short list of goals for your team to complete over the course of the year. Each of these goals can have subsections under them of things that need to be completed. Defining goals and priorities for the organization will help your team move together in the same direction.
Let me just say this – communication is important! You’re on a team that means you must communicate. This means that yes you and your team came up with these goals, but now you must communicate them with to the team again, in written format. You’ll probably want to communicate your goals up the ladder as well. Tell everyone what you’re working on.
Make it a point to check in with the team members. “What’s the most important thing we want to accomplish this year?” If they can’t answer that question, then communication failed somewhere and it’s time to figure out where.
There is no successful team without cooperation. Everyone on the team needs to be cooperating with each other to meet the priorities laid out and successfully fulfill the goals that were laid out.
It’s natural that there may be a sense of competition within team members – who will finish the task assigned first or who will meet the first goal objective – but it’s important to keep your team members on track. A little competition is healthy (and sometimes even helpful), but keep an eye on it and make sure your team members know they have to work together to achieve the results they want. That’s what’s good for the company and good for them.
It’s time to hold your team members accountable. Accountable to their part of the team. It can be a simple check-in in the hallway or a formal check-in at a meeting. Make sure your team members know they will be held accountable for the results and for the goal objectives they were assigned. They are a part of the team and it’s important that the results they do achieve positively impact the team.
An idea for holding your team members accountable is to use the goal objectives as categories on their yearly review. This is more of a motivating factor if they know it may be used to determine whether or not they get a raise next year.
It’s important that you keep your team in check and headed in the right direction. Take time to talk to each of your team members individually. Ask them what they are doing to further the goals of the organization. Ask them to talk about how they think they’re doing at meeting the goals and priorities the organization wants to have achieved. With a constant communication, cooperation, and accountability, your team members will come together and work hard to achieve the goals and priorities you want for the organization.