Is Your Leadership Team Really Aligned?:
Too often, the absence of overt disagreement masquerades as alignment. Said differently- just because you don’t have public discrepancies or arguments about critical issues, doesn’t mean your team is aligned. Instead of working passively on aligning your team try this instead:
- Ask everyone on the team to share their understanding (in writing or verbally) of the issue or strategy you wish to align on.
- Listen carefully for the differences, omissions, or even subtle shifts. These are often where the “wobbly” alignment occurs.
- Pinpoint the differences or even the different vantage points of each and discuss them.
Driving alignment doesn’t mean everyone has to agree. It does however mean that you have a shared understanding of the issues you are trying to resolve, strategies you are using, and approaches you are taking to improve the business.
The reason alignment is so important for your leadership team is because if they aren’t in sync, there is no way the people who need to implement strategy are either.
360 Degree Feedback – at Home:
One of the editors at Harvard Business Review asked me about my work on 360 degree feedback and whether an informal 360s process could be adapted to the family environment. So, I’m writing an article in a new HBR series for working parents. It will focus on how to apply feedback principles to the home environment to create structured conversations. Specifically, for parents to get feedback from their kids about their parenting and how they can do a better job for their children. I’ve always been clear with clients that my advice is for business and any application to the home is done at your own risk…I’m writing the article using my own children as the test case. Here are some of the lessons that you can apply to either work or home:
- Its critical to create a safe environment for feedback. My kids were excited about the opportunity as you might imagine. I thought it was important to let them know that they could say whatever they want with no consequence. I see too many leaders miss on this idea and get only partial feedback or advice that’s too vanilla. If you want the real truth, it’s not enough to just ask for it. You’ve got to go out of your way to let them know how important it is for them to share their honest point of view and that you value their perspective. Let’s face it, it’s hard to tell the boss (or parent) bad news if you are worried about their reaction.
- Don’t react negatively to negative feedback. After all, you asked for it didn’t you? You’ll almost always get positive feedback that you can use to reinforce your strengths, and if people are honest, you’ll get some negative feedback too. Many of you have worked with leaders who try to dissect every bit of negative feedback as a way to prove it isn’t accurate. If feedback is given to you, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s really you, trust the kernel of truth that’s there. Being gracious in the receipt of negative feedback isn’t easy, but it will demonstrate your strength and sincerity. And you just might learn something.
- It’s all about how you use it. With feedback to provide guidance, you can determine what adjustments, shifts, or wholesale changes you want to make when working with others. Go back and thank people for their feedback, let them know what you heard, how you thought about it and what you are going to try to do as a result. Nobody is perfect and your commitment to adjusting your approach is a tangible signal to your team or kids that you value their input, recognize the impact you have on them, and are looking for ways to be even more effective.
I’ll share the new article on applying these concepts as a parent as soon as its released, so stay tuned!
Clutter. We all have it, and we would all be more effective if we had less of it. This article explains how your intranet can quickly become your junk drawer, but if you clean up the clutter and optimize it, your team will see the value and continue to use it.
Question to Ponder:
What clutter can you remove in order to make space for something more valuable?
I recently spent some time cleaning my office over the last few weeks, getting rid of some stuff that I’ve held on to for years – not because I valued it, but simply because I’ve had it for so long. Make room for something new, or perhaps even better, make room for some empty space!