6 Steps to Creating Alignment on Your Team: Step 3—Figure out Your Value

Stop wasting time adding value that others can add. You need to figure out the unique value of your team, and make sure you deliver what your organization needs.

This is the third in a six-part series on enhancing team effectiveness through better alignment. Step 1 is to connect your team to the environment outside your organization. Step 2 is to orient the team to the organization’s strategy. Today, I’ll focus on how to define the unique value your team brings.

If the water-cooler buzz is any indication, people in organizations are over-worked, stressed, and fed up.  At the same time, studies show that strategy execution rates are down below 20%. The problem is not too little time (when has anyone had more than 24 hours in a day or 7 days in a week?). The problem is too little clarity about what matters and what doesn’t.

To improve the alignment on your team, you need to figure out what your organization is counting on you to deliver and what is just low-value work that seeps in to fill available time. My favorite description of the difference is still Dr. Joseph Juran’s “vital few and trivial many.”

Here’s How:

  1. Go back to your notes from Steps 1 and 2. Determine the most significant opportunities that come from the evolving environment and the organization’s strategy. Then look at the most significant risks.
  2. List the things that your team can do to capitalize on those opportunities and mitigate those threats.
  3. Add to the list by reviewing your notes on the needs of the customer (from Step 2). What can your team do to add value for customers?
  4. Think about other ways your team--and only your team--can add value. What are the best marketing teams in your industry doing? How can Finance support the business in ways that other teams can’t? How is Human Resources adding value on issues such as productivity or culture transformation?

This process should give you a list of 10-20 substantial contributions that your team is uniquely positioned to make. Some of these items might be obvious to the team. Some should be new insights. Either way, it’s a good list to keep close at hand to remind you of the “vital few.”

In the next post, I’ll explain Step 4: Setting the Team Mandate.