Weekly Business Idea

January 5, 2018 – Is Your Team Aligned with Your Business?

Posted on | January 5, 2018 | No Comments

Main Idea:

What is the toughest job of the leader?  What do you think is the most common complaint I hear from small business owners?  (No, it isn’t about taxes.)  How do we get our whole team moving in the same direction?

Expansion of the Idea:

It is interesting to read about the New England Patriots.  They are arguably the best professional franchise in the last 20 years.  I might not agree with their methods but they have systems and a focus on winning that is hard to argue with.  According to recent news reports, they are currently having trouble between their owner and head coach fueled by a key player going behind the coach’s back to the owner.  I don’t know the real story, but it is obvious that this could be a distraction for the team as they head into the playoffs.  And more importantly, it looks like the team traded away their future quarterback because of current egos.

This highlights one of the big issues for all small business owners.  We may not own a professional football team but we do have key employees.  Our businesses may not be worth billions of dollars, but they are critical to our financial success.  The key to almost all businesses is getting alignment of their team members.  I am incredibly blessed with my current team.  They are completely focused on helping clients and doing what they can to further the business.  As a result, I have had several good years.   And we are positioned for growth.  This can only happen when everyone is pulling in the same direction.

The million dollar question is “How do we get alignment”?

Alignment is a function of the following:

  • The right team
  • A clear direction
  • Communication of the direction
  • Systems to help the business run smoothly

That seems simple yet we all fail to stay focused.  A great team will drift over time as individual’s needs move away from the company’s needs.  It is accelerated if individuals start thinking more about themselves than the company.  When that happens, no matter how clear the direction is and how well it is communicated, you will have problems.  Everything starts with the team.

However, after that it is frequently the leader who fails the team.  The leader may not be clear on the direction or doesn’t communicate what is going on.  Any of these issues create problems that surface in unexpected ways.  And all of this must be supported by systems.  Key systems that help with alignment are:

  • Goal setting
  • Key performance indicators
  • Feedback
  • Coaching

Too often, small business owners don’t focus on these systems because they are soft systems.  Yet I might argue that these are some of the most critical systems to long term success.  They take work and an investment of time.  With the start of the new year, now is a good time to focus on alignment of your business.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you feel that your team is in sync?
  2. How often do you have communication gaps?
  3. Can all of your team explain your purpose for being in business?
  4. Are all of your team in positions where they can flourish?
  5. Is the business working well and growing?

If you would like to look at further resources on this, I would encourage you to read Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage.

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    These weekly ideas are brought to you by FitzGerald & FitzGerald P.C. For more information about how to use these ideas with your small business contact Tim FitzGerald at trfitz@fitz-net.com.