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Executive Team Coaching: 4 Ways to Build Alignment

November 3, 2023
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Building alignment on a team is essential for helping improve leadership team effectiveness. As a result of my work doing executive team coaching in a variety of sectors including healthcare, I have observed how teams that lack alignment can suffer in many ways:

  • Missed goals due to the lack of alignment on critical outcomes and accountability for team outcomes.
  • Reduced productivity and inefficiency since team members are not on the same page and may duplicate efforts.
  • Unnecessary conflict and confusion about who is doing what.
  • Decreased morale with team members feeling uncertain about their roles, encountering unproductive conflict, and feeling frustrated with the inability to meet goals.

Here are four executive team coaching strategies to help you improve the effectiveness of your leadership teams.

1: Clearly Defined Goals

Goals should be clearly defined so that team members understand specific outcomes, including actionable tasks and milestones. Just because you as the team leader are clear on goals does not mean your team shares this perspective. A powerful way to test for this is by asking all team members to anonymously write down their understanding of the team goal or vision on a slip of paper. Invite them to pass the goal statement to the person they sit next to multiple times, giving each team member a chance to read everyone's definition of the goal or vision. Finally, as the team leader, ask the members if there is alignment on the team goal.

2: Two-Way Communication

Two-way communication among team members and the team leader should employ several channels such as emails, regular meetings, and project management tools such as project plans that are easily accessible. Two-way communication allows team members to ask questions and clarify misunderstandings before they fester and damage trust. One great way to ensure alignment in a team meeting is to ask a team member to act as a scribe and record the minutes of the session while they project their computer screen for others to see. As the recorder captures key ideas and accountabilities, team members can validate the commitments before the meeting is over and make course corrections as needed.

3: Establish Roles, Responsibilities and Team Processes

Established roles, responsibilities, and critical team processes so team members understand their focus as well as the focus of their colleagues. Decision-making processes need to be clearly defined so team members understand who owns a decision and who is providing input to a decision. For example, Steve, the team leader, communicates to his team that he is the final decision-maker but invites feedback to help him make the final decision.

4: Ensure Meetings are Effective

Finally, as a team leader you should consider strategies for improving meeting effectiveness by defining agendas in advance, appointing roles, and managing time effectively. Define agendas in advance and distribute them before the meeting to help participants prepare. The agenda should include the desired outcomes, accountabilities for meeting topics, and an estimate of the time allocation. Grant the meeting facilitator the power to interrupt tangent discussions if they occur. Hang some flipchart paper on the wall to capture tangent topics to stay focused. Finally, plan on ending the meeting five minutes early to review the outcomes and accountabilities.

Building alignment on a team is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and attention. It's essential to create an environment where team members feel heard, valued, and motivated to work together towards shared objectives. As a leader, your commitment to these strategies can help ensure an effective leadership team.

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Dr. Kevin Nourse is an executive team coach helping teams create amazing results. He founded Nourse Leadership Strategies, an executive and team coaching firm based in Palm Springs, CA. Kevin works with leaders and teams throughout California including Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Irvine, Orange County, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Sacramento.  Contact him at 442.420.5578 (call or text) or kevin@nourseleadership.com

 

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