“Begin with the end in mind” (Covey)
Expedition members spend a great deal of time imagining the journey they will undertake together. Before they set out, they talk at length about their destination, about how it will feel to reach it together.
They talk about the stops in between. About what they will do in case of bad weather, accidents, illness. They create and visualize a clear and shared picture of the experience to come.
By discussing and visualizing a desired situation, you train your brain to perform optimally at the right moment. And the stronger this shared picture is, the easier it is for each expedition member to independently contribute to that success.
Ambiguity is like weed
The facts do not lie The Gallup polling firm reports that 6 out of 10 employees say they know what is expected of them at work. No one in this survey checked to see if the manager had the same picture. What about clarity on your team?
Lack of clarity is like a weed; it takes every opportunity to grow. And if you are not careful, it will sprout roots, overgrow your garden, and suffocates all the beautiful plants.
So, you need to hoe regularly. That is the good news. With regular weeding, weeds do not stand a chance. What does that look like? Simple, by making clarity a regular part of your one-on-one conversations and team meetings.
For example, by highlighting one Team Goal each week. Together you discuss the desired outcome, where you are today, and what are your next actions to achieve that goal.
Clarity is like fertiliser
The facts are clear: assume that 6 out of 10 people on your team are reality.
Gallup proves that if 8 out of 10 employees have a clear picture, you can expect the following:
- 14% less staff turnover
- 20% fewer incidents
- 7% higher productivity
Clarity is a great fertiliser. Clarity keeps your team and its performance healthy.
Clarity, from large to small
The clearer it is what you want to achieve together – and what everyone’s contribution is – the easier and more fun it will be for everyone. Because everyone wants to contribute, you just have to enable each other …
We distinguish three levels of clarity:
- Clarity about the identity of the organisation
- Clarity about the short-term goals of the team
- Clarity about the contribution of each individual
If you want to start with clarity about identity, read this article: How to get to 100% Clarity on your Corporate Identity.
Here we limit ourselves to short-term clarity of team goals.
In doing so, we identify three components:
- Clear Business Objectives
- Clear Team Objectives
- Clear Initiatives
1. Clear Business Objectives
Goals give direction to teamwork. Use them to make clear what the organisation wants to have accomplished at the end of a longer period of time, such as a year. Use goals to make the organisation’s key aspirations concrete and measurable.
1.1 Identify what you want to improve/change
Summarize the parts you want to change and improve for the coming period.
What are you thinking about? Customer focus? Sales, Margin, Results? Employee engagement?
1.2 Select the most important goals
Think again about the long-term goal of your business. Double check whether you have identified the most important components. Select 3 components with a maximum of 5. Check again: are these the most important goals?
Summarize in a few words what you want to achieve. For example:
- Top 3 player for our target group
- Growth to market leader
- Best employer in our industry.
1.4 Add measurability with KPIs
Make your Goal more tangible and measurable by adding one or more Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
For each KPI, you then add KPI Targets to create your short-term goals.
- Study the Organisational Goal and make a list of factors that you can use to measure progress toward this goal;
- Sort these factors on their relationship to the goal;
- Select one or perhaps several that together give a good picture of progress toward the goal in question;
- Add the selected KPIs to your goal;
- Add targets for each KPI.
2. Clear Team Goals
Short-term goals for the organisation – KPI Targets – are a great start. They provide direction and focus. Once the KPI Targets have been set, invite the Teams to get started. You ask them to contribute to the goals and make them tangible as possible.
2.1 Discuss Organisational Goals, KPI’s and targets.
Talk to your team members about the Organisational Goals. What are the priorities for the coming or current year? What needs to be achieved? What is the intention? And if it is not clear, ask the MT for clarification.
2.2 Define your team’s contribution
Think about what you can do with your team in the coming period and the time frames in which you can contribute to these Organisational Goals.
2.3 Design your Team Initiatives
Describe these contributions as specifically as possible in Team Initiatives.
Present your contributions to the MT and possibly other teams. This is how you achieve maximum alignment.
3. Clear Initiatives
The best way to compare Team Initiatives is with projects: A cohesive set of activities with a head and a tail designed to deliver a specific end result.
This way, you and your team arrive at clear initiatives.
3.1 Discuss aligned Initiatives
View the result of coordinating with the MT and/or other teams. What initiatives did you come up with? What results do you want these initiatives to lead to?
3.2 Make commitments
Discuss how you will divide the work (Result Agreements) and how you will work together to implement it (Behaviour Agreements).
If your team is scattered, clarity is even more important. You see each other less, which requires greater trust in and reliance on each other’s contributions.
So – in an “everyone works from home” scenario – pay more attention than ever to clarity. And once you have that clarity together, you are close in execution. Zero distancing.
By this we mean that you are good at engaging each other in the execution of your goals. Think of team members checking in weekly, sharing progress, and discussing requests for help. Together they will climb the mountain and stay close to each other. At zero distance. Without being on each other’s turf. Safely in close proximity.
With this clarity, you make maximum use of your Time and Talent. In this way, you create and accomplish so much more together.