As we embark on a new year, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the alignment within your leadership team. Upon returning from the festive break, amid the influx of emails and the rush to regain momentum, it is crucial to pause and ponder this essential question: how aligned is my leadership team on what success specifically mean to us by the end of 2024 – and what impact could it have to our business if we were at 100% alignment?
In the pursuit of successful execution, it appears that a significant number of leadership teams face challenges in achieving full alignment on three pivotal aspects:
- what goals do we want to achieve together
- with exactly what will each team member contribute
- what are the most critical dependencies that we must commit to between our units to execute
If your team comfortably rates itself at 9 or 10 on these criteria on a 1-10 scale, you may already be on a promising path for the upcoming year. However, a lower score could be a red flag demanding your attention as the team’s leader.
Commonly, leaders find themselves grappling with a realization that their teams are not operating at peak collaboration. In response, some resort to hiring team-building consultants to enhance interpersonal relationships and -trust. Yet, this may not address the root cause, as trust issues within leadership teams often stem not from personal dislikes but from a lack of reliability in delivering on commitments.
In fact, research indicates that more than half of work-related trust issues between people arise in delivering on cross-functional dependencies, with a mere 5% expressing unwavering confidence in their peers consistently fulfilling their promises.
To foster high-performance collaboration and build trust within your team, two fundamental prerequisites must be established:
- You need to create better alignment on goals, as well as critical cross-dependencies – and this both for the long term (e.g. year) as well as short term (e.g. Quarter)
- You need to build strong personal commitment from each team member to actually deliver– by frequent asking for and following up on promises.
The impact of achieving these prerequisites can be transformative for leadership teams, emphasizing the importance of engaging in the right conversations and mastering what we term “Execution Leadership.”
Surprisingly, many leadership teams completely overlook the crucial question of alignment. We strongly encourage you to assess this within your own team. If the rating falls below 9 on a scale of 10, consider kickstarting the new financial year by attaining full alignment in your team. This serves as a critical pre-requisite for ensuring successful execution in the year ahead.