Lack of team alignment may lead to poor performance of the team. If all the team members are not clear about what they are doing and why, it may seem arduous to them to come to a consensus. Moreover, precious time may be lost in endless discussions, arguments and disagreements. Also, if at the end no concurring solution is arrived at, the team would have wasted time, resources and even an opportunity. .
When time is short, then it is important to align the team on the project requirements first-up. Hence, the first step is to conduct a short, crisp meeting of about two hours or two meetings of about an hour or an hour and a half spaced out conveniently. The agenda of the meeting and what it aims to elicit must be clear at the outset. Usually, a group of about 6 to 8 is big enough for conducting such short, agenda driven meetings to avoid confusion and loss of time.
The next on the agenda must be to find out what’s working, what’s not working and what remains untapped. For this, the leadership and strategic management team must ask each member to list at least two things of each kind, preferably relating to their area of expertise. This way, there will be a thorough list of things that need to be sorted. The team will develop a clear idea of what is good for the project in sight and what needs to be avoided. Any untapped potential can also be worked on through this step.
Discover patterns from the ideas enlisted by the team members. It is possible that two things that seem to work under two separate areas of expertise are linked. These things can be grouped together. By doing this exercise, different thematic patterns can be ascertained. If done visually using colored stickies or colored pens on a white board, the patterns will be clearly visible to all team members.
Once the patterns are known, those ideas or themes that are the most positive or seem to have the most potential can be flagged and get a vote. Let team members vote from among these top ideas and then decide which are the best ones and need to be worked on as per the final vote.
The final thing in this process is to decide the priority, importance and impact of each of the top 8 or 10 ideas. Thus, now these top ideas can be ranked with regard to how much impact they create and how important they are in the achievement of the final project goal. This will finally help the team to determine what it is they should focus on and why, thus, clearly aligning the team on near-term priorities.
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