4 Pillars of team alignment

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The modern world presents businesses with some serious challenges. But it also comes with tools to help mitigate them. This blog will outline the 4 pillars of team alignment and some methods for building that infrastructure. Yes, even during lock-down.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created the largest remote working experiment to date. Suddenly, managers all over the globe must align scattered teams and keep up morale. Okay, the stakes are high, but so is the potential. Now is the time to implement the strategies to keep your organization thriving.

What is Team Alignment?

It’s become a business buzzword in recent years. Even for in-house teams, team alignment is a go-to for any manager who wants to:

  • increase productivity and efficiency
  • boost motivation and morale
  • reduce staff turnover
  • speed up decision-making
  • create agility and adaptability

If your response to the above is yes please! then you’re not alone. Right now, managers all over the globe are facing market uncertainty and dramatic changes to work procedures. The adaptability and reliability of staff are critical.

The first step is to understand what team alignment is. Then, decide how you’re going to achieve it within today’s constraints.

The Task Ahead

So what is team alignment? Well, the clue is in the name. In an aligned team, every player is in the right place, working in sync with their colleagues to achieve a shared goal. As for the how - that is more complicated...

To align a team, a manager must:

  • rally all members around the same overall goal
  • set out clear deliverables every step of the way
  • make sure every member understands their role
  • make sure every member feels valued
  • create trust between colleagues
  • facilitate clear, honest communication
  • provide the tools necessary for collaboration

The idea of achieving all of this without being in the same room might seem truly daunting, but it is far from impossible. Studies prove that good remote leadership can synchronize a scattered team.

4 Pillars of team alignment

Team alignment is built on the 4 pillars described below. Readily available technologies can address these cornerstones coherently and efficiently, significantly boosting the performance and health of teams.

1. One Vision

A shared goal is the first step to team alignment.

Basically, employees need to see where they fit into the bigger picture, and where they fit into their team._ _To do this they need a clear, tiered set of aims, ranging from an overall company ethos, through a compelling team mission, right down to short-term deliverables.

Remember, 95 percent of employees have no grasp of their company's strategy. So don’t expect your work to speak for itself! Companies need to clearly iterate their purpose. Managers must help to link it with their employees’ tasks.

The key is to centralize and articulate. A company intranet is a good way to create a shared online workspace that embodies the company identity. Software services like Elium offer a system comprising a centralized home story, tailored employee pages, and dynamic, interactive team stories. Using calendars and team schedules, these are a great way to clearly outline deliverables and reiterate team goals.

Use a company intranet to:

  • rally all members around the same overall goal
  • set out clear deliverables every step of the way
  • make sure every member understands their role

After all, productivity increases by 56 percent when employees understand how their work contributes to company objectives. So never underestimate how important it is to keep teams on board with the company’s vision!

2. Over-communication

It goes without saying that communication is key to synchronizing teams.

Specifically, virtual teams need constant reminders of what results matter most, and should be continuously kept up-to-date with the team’s progress.

Online communication platforms automatically keep everyone in the loop, without writing constant updates or having to get to grips with strings of messages.

Staff can log on anytime, anywhere, and immediately see all they need. At a glance, they can get up to speed on who has done what and what needs to be done.

This avoids miscommunication and time-wastage and helps keep all member on track by ensuring:

  • clear deliverables
  • everyone understands their role
  • clear communication
  • effective collaboration

It also allows members to centralize their communication channels. There’s no need to review everything that’s happened on Slack, emails, or SMSs before getting down to work.

3. Support

Team alignment is all about mutual support. When everyone compliments each others’ efforts, the result is more than the sum of its parts.

A good knowledge sharing platform organizes information according to who needs what. This can cut out a lot of time that might otherwise be wasted trawling through a database. Twenty-eight billion hours are lost each year due to information overload, those extra hours go a long way towards boosting team efficiency!

Knowledge platforms also make everyone’s contribution visible. The Elium platform, for example, shows who has provided what. The system automatically organizes information according to who needs it, shows who has read it, and allows colleagues to thank one another.

In this way, a knowledge platform makes an invaluable contribution to:

  • making sure every member feels valued
  • providing tools for collaboration

4. Relationships

When it comes to team alignment, personal relationships matter. Professor Judith Olson has spent 20 years studying how to mitigate the effect of distance on businesses. She found that colleagues who like each other are far better at working together.

But friendships don’t develop as easily when relationships are virtual. ‘We lose trust when we don’t know what other people are doing,’ explains Olson.

Online platforms increase the visibility of each team member, making their contributions obvious and allowing them to show their appreciation for one another. Systems like Elium have an in-built tier system. Managers can create spaces for informal interactions as well as more professional one, and foster work friendships.

In this way, a company platform helps:

  • rally all members around the same overall goal
  • make sure every member feels valued
  • create trust between colleagues
  • facilitate clear, honest communication
  • provide the tools necessary for collaboration

Strong Foundations

One of Olson’s key findings is that digital technologies are invaluable when it comes to successful telework. Now is the time to build a strong infrastructure for aligning teams whether they are in-house or not. By providing the right support, managers can get the best out of their teams during lock-down and beyond.