Alignment is about more than a shared sense of purpose within the team. You need to articulate the mandate of your team so everyone knows your role.
This is the fourth 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. Step 3 is to figure out the unique value your organization needs you to add. Today, I’ll focus on how to develop a team mandate so you can share your value with the world.
Knightsbridge recently asked 50 large corporations to describe the factors affecting team effectiveness in their organizations. One of the survey’s most interesting findings was the number of open-ended comments about the struggle to improve effectiveness between teams.
Teams that are aligned with the broader organization will work better together. One of the best ways to do this is to articulate a team mandate: A concise, clear definition of what the team exists to accomplish. A mandate is NOT the same as a strategy or a plan. Plans describe what individual members of the team will do. A mandate is a statement that addresses only what the team must do together.
- Take your list of unique value items from Step 3.
- Remove the items that can be done by a single member or a small sub-group of the team. Those items don’t belong in the mandate.
- Review the list and divide it into three or four major themes.
- Write a statement that incorporates these themes and describes what the team promises to deliver.
Here’s an example, from an investment firm’s portfolio analysis team:
By integrating diverse information about the global economy, market trends, and asset performance, we provide guidance on buy/sell decisions to support our investment departments in optimizing the long-term performance of our funds.
At the end of Step 4, you should have a statement you can share with other organizational stakeholders. This will help demonstrate your value to the organization, and negotiate your team’s workload to make sure you’re able to focus on your “vital few” priorities.
In the next post, I’ll explain Step 5: Figuring out the Imperatives.