Why Getting on “THE SAME PAGE” is so Vital for Team Success
(And 4 essentials necessary to get them back onto that same page)
Is your team really on the “same page” with you? Do you truly have organizational alignment?
It’s become easy for me to spot a leader, team and hierarchy that are misaligned—NOT on the same page. It’s painful to hear about or witness. Sometimes the scenario sounds like this:
“I’ve been working so hard to move the team in the right direction, and we’re finally winning, but my manager (or company) just threw an unexpected curveball at us and now the team is confused and distracted.”
It can also sound like this:
“I can tell that my boss is perturbed with me for some reason—wants me to move in a different direction—but when I ask for clarification or request the opportunity to discuss and fully understand his strategies, he becomes agitated. We’re on TOTALLY different pages and I’m not sure what to do next!”
On the other hand, when I’m coaching a team (or individual) it’s so awesome to see them all on the same page. It usually sounds something like this:
“Joe, we’re so pumped right now. We’re killing it! My boss has been so helpful over the last year in getting us pointed in the right direction. She just spent half a day in our office doing some additional coaching and training. She can’t believe how in-sync we are with all of our goals and the company’s objectives.”
The first two scenarios are unlike the last one in that, in the last scenario, the top-level leader is omnipresent and has obviously done a great job investing in, and connecting with her team over a period of time.
Conversely, in the first two scenarios, there appears to be an utter lack of presence and also an utter void of effective communication. In addition—and most importantly—there’s a total absence of alignment.
Look, I do a lot of high-level coaching with both high producing salespeople—as well as the kind of people that lead them—and I’m blown away at how often I sense a misalignment of mission, vision and strategic direction. It’s alarming to me, but more than it just being alarming, I know for certain that a team CANNOT win if there is a lack of alignment. It just won’t happen.
A team and their leadership MUST be on THE SAME PAGE in order for everyone on the team to WIN and for that organization to have sustained success.
First, I want you to take a wild guess whose responsibility it is for the creation of organizational alignment? I bet you already know the answer…YES, it’s the responsibility of the top leader.
Organizational alignment happens from the top down and it’ll live or die with the top leader’s ability to get everybody on the same page. In fact, when the leader learns that something has slipped out of alignment, or they’re less than satisfied with metrics, results or outcome, then they should be asking:
“What is it about MY leadership or communication style that’s shaped this current situation?”
Many (so called) leaders never ask this question. They may be scared to ask it, or they may just be “clueless.” So what happens is, things start to go sideways for them in terms of numbers or metrics. They try to force their own strategies downline without obtaining buy-in. They begin to feel resistance or get pushback to some of those strategies and that causes a very noticeable climate of negativity or conflict.
You would think that a smart leader would pull back for a moment so that they could look within or at least ask some thoughtful questions of key people on their team…but NOOOOOO…our unenlightened leader doubles down on their failed communication methods and then, worse, they shift responsibility to their direct report or their entire downline team and it’s a chocolate mess!
The reality is, getting people onto the same page just doesn’t happen on its own and it certainly doesn’t happen if the leader shuts down or starts playing the “blame game.” The actuality is, the top leader is responsible for alignment and must create it by doing all of the right things.
The right things often take some time and a significant amount of work, however, please allow me to offer you a few thoughts and methods that can short cut this process of gaining organizational alignment for you.
4 Key Essentials of Organizational Alignment
- Presence (Showing up regularly and being involved)
It’s next to impossible for you to keep your team aligned unless you have regular interaction with them. It’s not enough to just show up, you actually need to be present—involved enough to influence the thoughts and actions of the key players on your team.
You most likely lead and manage entrepreneurial people. Naturally, these types will take initiative to do their “best” with whatever tools you give them. If you don’t invest quality time with them, it’s almost certain that they’re going to make decisions you’re uncomfortable with. It is YOUR responsibility to initiate and schedule regular contact with your key leaders or the current nucleus of your team.
- Effective Communication (Getting through to them)
Again, just showing up and making some level of contact is not enough. You also have to communicate effectively. Your team can’t read your mind. You have to be very clear in communicating things such as, your expectations, the vision, mission, and the desired outcomes you’d like to see. You need to articulate your expectations many times over so it sticks.
Most importantly, if you’re not satisfied with the specific direction your team is headed in, then you need to speak up before a great deal of damage is done, or before it’s too late to fix that damage. This is one of the things all great leadership communicators do.
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Go here first: http://www.thecapequation.com/access/
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Okay…back to this blog article…
- Real Connection (Creating a bond of trust)
I have to tell you that effective communication isn’t even enough for you to move the needle and to get them on the same page. For real organizational alignment to occur and sustain, your team has to know WHO you are. They have to be able to genuinely TRUST you.
Trust comes from so many little things we must do over a course of time, but it starts with you striving to make a real connection with them. Real connection begins to materialize when you listen to them and also ask them for their opinion and feedback. A bond of trust soon follows this type of action. Unenlightened leaders think that they’re entitled to TRUST by virtue of the title on their business card, but they’re not and you’re not. I have a great resource article for this subject if you’ve never read it. It’s called: Authority vs. Influence Take a read on it when you have a minute.
You can buy their presence by commanding them to show up at your sales meeting, but you can’t buy a true connection and trust. You must earn those. You can only create a connection—and thus alignment—when you let them inside of your head and your heart. Here’s a good little blog on the subject of earning trust.
- Strong Common Purpose (The WHY)
Getting your team on the same page—organizational alignment—is very much about the three essential elements above, but if you add this 4th element to your thought process you can take it over the top.
You need to consistently talk about the “WHY.”
It is much, much easier to create alignment when your team feels they can SHARE in the common aspects that motivate all of us. When you get your team rallied around a strong purpose or mission—when you get them connected to that—alignment becomes so much easier.
So, I hope that I’ve sufficiently convinced you that getting everyone on the same page—organizational alignment—is critical to your long-term financial success if you are leading a team. I believe that gaining organizational alignment is the only way you’ll be able to move your organization forward.
However—and I want to make sure you totally understand this—alignment just doesn’t happen, you must do the right things to create it. It’s worth working for. Take it from me, when you do create alignment in your organization, it’s a beautiful thing!
Oh…before you forget…
…go get the special audio session gift. It’s not available to the public and I think you’ll get a lot out of it.
Make sure you are a CAP subscriber (if not already)
Go here first: http://www.thecapequation.com/access/
Then, send a personal email to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write in the subject line: Send me the Leadership Communication Audio
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on direct selling and sales leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his proprietary platform, The CAP Equation©. Please visit Joe at: http://www.CAPequation.com