Distributed Team Tip #4 – Align frequently

A team that aligns frequently, delivers good quality work at a predictable pace. By having a focus on high value output they work on the right things. Conversely, a team which does not align frequently can fragment rapidly, be inconsistent in their delivery and expend energy on low-value activity.

It is all about the Why!

People are motivated by doing things that matter. One way to ensure that team members understand their efforts matter, is through regularly engagement. Engagement can be made meaningful by explaining the what the desired outcome is, that they are being asked to contribute along with the reason why that outcome is valuable.

In a constantly changing world, there is a need to update teams with changes in priority and include them in the early thinking behind changes. This will enable them evolve their thinking and adapt as required.

Frequent alignment sessions build inclusion, alignment and consistency

The mission

A team with a mission is a team with a purpose. Team members know where they are going and what they are likely to encounter along the way. As teams form, they do so as a group dedicated to fulfilment their purpose. They will hone their skills and apply their energy to achieve success.

Alignment is necessary to reconnect team members with the mission and purpose as context changes to ensure they know which direction to head. As we build teams of competent people and provide them with purpose and prioritisation, they are able to put their skills to work to develop the solutions using their expertise.

The team output

Alignment allows synchronisation and collaboration. Together, this is a basis for shared work experiences which in turn help create an environment to establish trust. This trust forms a virtuous feedback loop to collaboration which is improved, to further build that trust.

Synchronisation – By knowing when and how the team is going to meet, an individual can match their own cadence to the group’s rhythm. Without frequent and regular alignment, each time they meet, it will feel ad hoc and require an expenditure of energy to figure out how to conduct their catch up.

Collaboration – By talking at frequent intervals, people can balance their own contribution with the opportunity to share and ask for help. Breaking work up into small items enables an understanding who is working on what and when provides the opportunity for an individual to be somewhat autonomous.

The individual’s contribution

Knowing the context of the work being done and having regular interactions with the rest of the team creates enables an individual to contribute their best. When provided with the right information to enable success, a motivated person who is part of a team with the required competencies, is able to deliver quality output.

Alignment and autonomy allow people to exert their skills and do their job often with a lift in satisfaction and quality.

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