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December 19, 2019

Six Keys to Team Alignment - Part Two

Categories:  Leadership | Teaming

“Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.”- Japanese Proverb

In continuation of our last blog, after you declare your purpose, agree on your values and create your vision, it is now time to write your goals, set your priorities and get the right people in the right seats.

  1. Goals (our milestones)
  2. Priorities (what is most important)
  3. Roles (who does what to achieve the vision through the goals)

As senior leaders we need to be very explicit about how we will measure success by choosing the metrics that drive it. Then we need to allow teams to freely and creatively pursue ways to achieve that success, so specifying more on the former and less on the latter.

Agreeing on mutual goals and priorities: Once you and your team are very clear and aligned on your vision, have your team identify what they are going to accomplish to make the vision real. Next, list clear and measurable goals (i.e. S.M.A.R.T. goals) then prioritize which goals are most important, most critical to living and working your purpose and achieving your vision. Agree on the top three to five goals that are most important for a certain duration that is most relevant to your business (e.g. next 6 –- 12 months). Occasionally, we hear from clients that “everything is important”, especially from those organizations that have a lot of metrics. Having a set of three to five goals does not negate these other goals, activities, or metrics; it ensures that you put the right attention and resources towards accomplishing the absolute most important goals.

Having the right people in the right roles, the last step is just as important as the other five. Who does what to achieve your new vision and goals? Have people work in their “zone of genius.” Everyone’s zone of genius is unique and innate rather than learned, and it is the physical and mental space where skills, interests, and passions converge to make them excel in their performance. Some of our most successful clients are clear about what success needs to look like in key roles and make sure they get the right folks into those roles where both the leader and the organization win. Today, markets change, industries consolidate, competition comes from unexpected places at a frenetic pace, so teams/organizations can’t afford to have leaders in the wrong roles. And leaders can’t afford to not be working in their “zone” and playing to their strengths. Life is too short as is the business cycle.

Do we have the right people in the right seats? What key roles do we need? Where can each team member work in their zone of genius?

One of Lori’s former employers, Honeywell, did an outstanding job of ensuring leaders were in the right roles to accomplish business objectives. Annually, business executives were expected to develop their business strategy and goals for the next year and then assess their organization’s capability of accomplishing those goals with part of that being an assessment of leadership talent. Action plans were put in place to ensure leaders received the development, assignments, experiences, and incentives to get the organization where it needed to go. Poor performers were managed out. When necessary, the organization was not afraid to hire external talent to fill skills gaps or take a risk on top talent lower in the organization to develop into larger roles.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
– Henry David Thoreau

A final and important step is to reassess and recommunicate. Review your goals regularly and keep them visible. Measure and celebrate your successes. Your goals and roles may need updating as you are growing and learning together. Schedule reassessment times. Our most successful clients meet with a regular cadence (e.g. quarterly team meetings) to review business goals AND to assess how they are doing as a team. This results in higher-performing teams who enjoy working together.

What are we learning and who are we becoming as a result of our actions? What do we need to improve or tweak to catapult our actions to achieve our goals?

We are here to support you in having these courageous conversations. You can use Ask a Coach or contact us direct or for a free consultation, or if you want more clarity and/or a no-cost assessment.

Stay Passionate,
Lori and James

James Jackman & Lori Heffelfinger
310-543-7632 office

P.S. How are we doing with the new blog topics? What would you like to see more of or less of? What topics would be of most support to you? Email us

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