Change has always been constant, but these days, it is coming at a faster, more chaotic rate. In response to perhaps the most obvious upheaval this past year, COVID-19, there are new ways of working — remote work, Zoom calls, shared screens — combined with adaptations leaders must make in this new era due to public health concerns and social justice issues. All of this change, like shifting tectonic plates, can create misalignments, and misalignments lead to stress within your organization. If the pressure of these changes builds for too long, it might just cause an earthquake.
Because of the shifting nature of our lives, your methods of alignment may not be the same as what they used to be. Before you begin with any kind of alignment strategy, it pays to have a dialogue (with yourself, a trusted friend, colleague, coach, or mentor) about where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and who you are as a team.
1.) Where are you going and why?
Once you’ve determined misalignments exist, define your goals and values. Be careful not to practice performative regurgitation of any goals you’ve had in the past. This means getting clear about where you want your team to go in the wake of recent change. What’s the new destination, and more importantly, why do you want to reach it? To start, list five goals and the motivating value behind them.
2.) How will you get there?
Once you know your destination, the next logical question is: how will you get there? Your team needs to understand a predetermined roadmap for achieving both short and long-term success. List three “stepping stones” to achieving each of your previously listed goals. For example, if increased communication and transparency is one of your goals, one stepping stone might be to schedule regular check-ins with individual team members and with the group as a whole.
3.) Who are you?
Define your roles and determine the unique way that each team member adds value. Then ask: how do those roles and responsibilities interact to achieve a common goal? Create a talent strategy for your team that helps you understand how everyone uses their natural abilities to take action and communicate. That understanding stems from a knowledge of what drives your employees at work, which you can access by using a Predictive Index behavioral assessment. Once you’ve built a talent strategy, list at least five links between your talent strategy and the business strategy you created in steps 1 and 2.
4.) How does it all come together?
Ultimately, all of the pieces in your business and talent strategy — goals, values, “stepping stones,” and talent — must interlock to create a fully functioning alignment strategy. They are your table legs — stabilizers in times of great uncertainty, and if you want your table to stay upright through the shaky days to come, those legs must be aligned.