A study titled “The Value of Adaptive Advantage” proves that the more adaptive companies are, the more financial gains that company generates. They also consistently outperform their industry peers and sustain superior performance over time.
The study showed that there were basic tenets in place when it came to highly adaptive teams: distributed leadership (the team leader believes in the value of sharing leadership at the top and developing leaders at every level), optimal talent mix (the team is not only composed of the top talent representing key positions and disciplines but also has the chemistry that comes from the right combination of backgrounds, styles, and perspectives), clear charter (the team has defined goals, roles, ground rules, and accountabilities), and mutual trust (team members are able to express divergent views and let down their guard to acknowledge when they need help).
However, the study also revealed five additional traits that are instrumental toward forming and nurturing a highly adaptive team. Those traits were: one voice, sense-and-respond capacity, information processing, freedom within a framework, and boundary fluidity.
Today, we will discuss the first of those traits.
“Adaptive teams take the time to get completely aligned about the organisation’s vision, values, and vital priorities, while respecting individual differences of opinion and experience. Once a diverse team has reached agreement, members have the same “true north” guiding their strategic moves, and they display an absolute consistency in articulating that direction.” –Roselinde Torres
Without high-level mission, vision, and goal statements, a company runs the risk of its workers independently determining what is important to them, resulting in inconsistent goals. In fact, according to one report, 50% of employee time is spent on work that isn’t aligned with company strategy. Unfortunately, most companies aren’t aligned because executives and managers haven’t spent adequate time communicating the company’s mission, vision, and goals to all employees. Presenting a strategic plan annually simply isn’t enough. The communication must happen constantly, and all employees must understand:
1) What are the company’s most important goals and objectives?
2) What part do I play in the big picture?
Leaders and managers must invest time in their teams, especially when it comes to strategic alignment and personal performance. This may mean helping each individual team member develop objectives that feed into the company’s bigger picture. Consider what Alex Raymond, CEO of the goal-setting platform Kapta, says:
“The process of linking personal goals to company goals is usually pretty straightforward. So, for example, if the company objective is to increase revenue by 25 percent this quarter, then my personal objective might be to create a new ebook that generates 1,000 new leads for the company. Basically, you want all the work in the company to be part of the overall strategic vision.”
Again, this requires mangers to be hands-on with their teams in order to create strategies more aligned with the organisation, so that the company truly has one voice. A leader must:
- Communicate regularly about the company’s mission, vision, values, and goals so that all team members are on the same page
- Implement specific metrics and deadlines for those goals so that team members understand what exactly success looks like
- Help employees to gain clarity on where they fit into the bigger picture and what projects they can develop toward feeding into the company’s goals
- Track individual performance, make adjustments where necessary, and continually encourage and motivate the team
What are some ways your own organisation fosters alignment through all company levels?