How to Align Your Team With Your Business Objectives
Where do you see your company in 5 years? What are your strategic goals and long-term plans?
As Michael Hyatt says, “If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.”
The fact is that, no matter how much effort you put into planning and executing your work if you don’t have a clear picture about where you are going, you’re just spinning.
More importantly, even with a solid vision, if your activities are not directed towards achieving your goals and your team is not aligned with your business objectives, it’s very likely that you won’t ever see the results you’re hoping for.
And, it takes more than a good bit of enthusiasm to reach that alignment. Taking a business vision and linking it to the team’s motivation requires a far more streamlined approach than a speech and a slideshow.
Let me tell you a story about how we’ve addressed this situation.
What Makes Customer Service Invaluable?
Nave is a customer-centric company. And I strongly believe that my sole responsibility as a founder and CEO of this business is to understand what exactly our customers want and need to achieve their goals.
It is not a coincidence that I’m always the first point of contact – regardless of whether I’m talking to someone who just landed on our blog trying to figure out how to manage their work effectively, or to a corporate head of operations who have adopted Nave at scale.
My goal is to understand the challenges they are struggling with and figure out a way to help them overcome these challenges. Our customer experience is what shapes the direction of our company. As such, providing unprecedented customer support is one of our main business objectives.
How to Align Your Team With Your Business Objectives
However, on the occasions when I’m not available, someone else has to make sure our clients are well supported to meet our goals.
And having everyone in the team align with this strategic initiative wasn’t straightforward. Eventually, people didn’t understand why it is so important to prioritize customer support over the rest of their work. They just wanted to get on with their standard daily activities. They didn’t see the purpose the way I did.
One of our teammates had to address a problem related to a configuration in Jira. “Well, the issue is not with our product”, she said, “so I told them that we can’t help”.
Okay, probably I missed the mark connecting our business objective to their individual motivation. Something had to change!
How can we change the perspective? What is it that they really want?
A couple of days later, I decided to open the conversation again, approaching it from a slightly different angle. So, I proposed the following to the team, “Your bonuses will represent 10% of the business annual earnings.”
Okay… what just happened? The profit of the company is now directly connected to the bonuses of my teammates thus supporting our customers becomes each and everyone’s individual goal!
Getting back to our initial conversation, I asked the team to brainstorm this use case one more time. “If the configuration in Jira is not proper and the data at Nave doesn’t make sense, we won’t make the sale. And if we don’t make the sale, it will affect our profit.”
It is so simple when you lay it down like this:
no support → no profit → no bonuses
The effect of this new policy was profound! I could see how every single person put themselves into our customer’s shoes to help them as much as possible. They even started suggesting improvements in our application to serve them better. How amazing is that?
A word of caution here! The 10% profit share is not allocated based on individual performance. Don’t fall into this trap – you don’t want to make people compete with each other. On the contrary, make sure you introduce the initiative in a way that encourages the team to help each other. Always remember that delivering results in an efficient manner is a collaborative effort, not an individual one.
With this strategy, we managed to link our business objective to their motivation and this approach actually ended up increasing our customer satisfaction by 20%.
You should always strive to align your team with your business objectives by touching on what actually motivates them.
Ask them directly, “what is it that you want?”. Probably more incentives, for you to stop tracking their time, or to introduce a 4-day workweek. Understand what drives your team and then hook up your business goals with their desires.
Create an experiment. It might be something like: “In the next 6 months, we want to achieve this goal and this is going to be your reward!”. Let them take the initiative and figure out how they will accomplish it as a team. Now, your business objectives have become their personal objectives, all while empowering an environment of engagement, collaboration and dedication.
So, what is the first step you will take, as early as tomorrow morning, to align your team with your business objectives?
If you’re striving to enable an environment of continuous improvement and a culture of trust, respect and appreciation, I’d be thrilled to welcome you to our Sustainable Predictability program.
Meet the Author
Sonya Siderova is a passionate product manager and a driving force behind Nave, a Kanban analytics suite that helps teams improve their delivery speed through data-driven decision making. When she's not catering to her two little ones, you might find Sonya absorbed in a good heavyweight boxing match or behind a screen crafting a new blog post.
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