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.
Good to read your blogs again Glenn, and as always thank you for your insight and inspiration on new ways of being for the businesses of tomorrow. Aho!
I particularly resonated with the message here. The temptation to go off course for more profit is easy to come by. I was offered support to expand the scope of my competition, and after much careful consideration, decided against it. I probably could have made “a lot” more money but I would have completely diluted my original mission, which has proven to me time and time again that I am on the right course. Some would call this ‘soul strength’- to be able to stick to your vision through the rockiest of times and the greatest of temptations. When the sea is calm it is indeed smooth sailing! Its when the waters get choppy that we are tested. Thank you for your inspiration, Glenn!