Last week at our monthly CEO meeting, one of my members asked if anyone in the room ever felt their team was at war. Do you see Individual members having their filters on and that little to no agreement was possible unless a compromise took place. If so, my sense there is a lack of trust in the room. Hidden agendas or egos were over riding and driving the direction of the meeting or team. The outcome would be counterproductive and the resulting direction would not achieve stated goals. My question to you, wouldn’t it be worthwhile or meaningful to align themselves with the team’s objective or your company vision first.

If you are disappointed with your Q1 performance or still looking for the right direction in 2011, “Alignment vs. Agreement” is a very compelling conversation you need to have with yourself and your team if you want to reach and exceed team or company expectations this year.

When high wire acrobats clasp their hands, they each commit to giving 100% by connecting to the wrist of their partner, thus each have closed the connection by having their hands and wrists locked together. There is a shared understanding that this approach has a better result or outcome vs. hands grasping for hands.

Focusing on alignment enables the team to move in a way that develops in the right direction while lack of agreement requires a compromise and/or a negotiated middle ground. Feelings are hurt, someone wins and someone loses. High performing teams move in a direction with mutual respect and shared understanding. High performing teams create a coordinated action and move in a way members anticipate.

If your direct reports are over promising and under producing look first toward alignment of your team or company objectives and/or goals then set “make or break” weekly measureable activity targets with stated goals and due dates. Identify who has ownership and milestone completion dates that are time sensitive. No chain is stronger than the weakest link.

In closing, Jack Welch’s 4 quadrant grid sums up this internal company issue. Upper right (H/H) are your stars and/ your 5’s. Alignment is to company, team, and your goals. They are self-starters, over achievers and someone you know, like and trust. Upper left (H/L) are what I will call your puppies or your 4’s because their aptitude, alignment to company goals and your vision are “spot” on. They have lots of potential and need nurturing and personal growth and development to reach and exceed performance targets. Encourage mentoring by your stars to help you develop your puppies. Lower right (L/H) are your terrorists and cancer to team cohesiveness and your stated company goals. They may be your 4’s due to production or performance yet are not team players. These are probably overachievers, individualists and someone that needs to align themselves to your stated team objectives, vision and company goals. They need to be managed toward upper right or managed out. The lower left (L/L) are what I will call dogs, your “C” players and in this date and time need to be managed out.

I have been following Robert Whipple as of late and I encourage to open this link and read his recent article on Three Tricky Questions About Trust.

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