I’ve often found that when working in cross-functional teams there is a lacking in alignment of objectives. In fact, I’ve found that working in small teams is usually more effective for this very reason. The more people involved, the more mission drift resulting from varying perspectives and objectives.
We’ve all experienced this, and yet with each new project, product launch or new business started we begin with a focus on our intention, vision and objectives, and then dig into developing the strategy. We communicate these things broadly. Perhaps if we’re really collaborative in nature we invite honest feedback and continue to refine the vision and strategy as we go.
Yet, all too often we find that some months down the road the ships are not sailing in the same direction. Maybe that’s a good thing if the original strategy or vision needs re-working, but it’s a dire thing when we find ourselves in a tug o’ war of competing visions and objectives.
The solution, as I have found, is to give purpose to the project or company, as purpose is a thing that people can align themselves with more so than a strategy. We can always disagree on a strategy, but if we start out with an alignment of purpose, the larger the team, the greater the number of ships sailing in the same direction, the greater the magic that occurs.
We have only to avoid falling into the dangerous waters of “yeah but’s” lest we are too easily dissuaded from our original purpose and become willing to accept a watering down of purpose. It takes courage and boldness to stick to a shared purpose. We can always refine a strategy or revise objectives, yet if we align behind a shared purpose, our vision will flow from that alignment, and through the power of our numbers and diverse skillsets we’ll arrive at a highly refined set of objectives and a winning strategy.
Or if not, we’ll learn a ton and will have had a great time trying.