One of the main functions of a manager is to organize the team members to help them achieve the organization's goals. Organizations, on the other hand, are social structures, and their success depends on the team members. Therefore, the human element plays a key role in making sure that the organization operates at peak efficiency. To effectively manage the team members, that’s why we divide them into teams, and we want those teams to be cohesive, coordinated, and collaborative. However, this becomes incredibly challenging if your team members are not in sync with each other or with the organization's aims and objectives.
What is Team Alignment?
Team alignment is the process of reaching a shared understanding by which personnel from various functions and departments interact and collaborate to achieve specified corporate goals and objectives. In other words, team alignment necessitates that each team member comprehends and supports the organization's vision and goals, as well as contributes to their realization.
To analyze the concept of team alignment, let’s look at it from two perspectives:
- Purpose alignment: Vision, goals, and how you'll realize them. These occur on team, personal, and organizational levels.
- Alignment of people: Unfortunately, this part is often undervalued. It’s not enough for team members to know what you are trying to achieve as an organization; they must also comprehend their role and those of their colleagues.
The growing importance of Team Alignment
Organizations encounter a variety of issues that have an impact on their performance and how activities are completed. COVID-19 is the most recent of these, leading to nationwide lockdowns in practically every country. As a result, organizations have been obliged to adapt in order to survive and solve this dilemma. The most significant difference was that teams were pushed to operate in remote environments. As a result, team alignment is more crucial than ever.
When teams are positioned in the same location, challenges originating from a lack of alignment are more likely to appear. When teams work remotely, however, difficulties arising from a lack of alignment may go unnoticed until a major problem arises as a consequence of a lack of clarity and misunderstanding. When dealing with cross-teams, this is even more crucial because everyone needs to be on the same page to provide a finished project, product, or service.
Further, when you plan to scale, team alignment becomes even more crucial. This is because the complexity that comes with development will necessitate new systems and structures. For example, while increasing the team size from three to four individuals improves the team size by only 33%, the complexity rises by 400%. In a two-person start-up setting, which is already tough to manage, there are two communication routes (or degrees of complexity). The complexity level jumps from two to six when you add a third person (or a client, or a place, or a product). It quadruples to 24 when you add a fourth. As a result, team alignment becomes increasingly crucial due to the increasing complexity.
Understanding the value of Team Alignment
Team alignment has a significant impact on the overall performance of a team. It improves human talent management performance by increasing understanding of the end goals and explaining the procedures and strategies used to achieve them. As a result, there is more collaboration and transparency among team members, which leads to increased efficiency and productivity. An aligned team has a common vision, understands the objectives, and is made up of team members who know how to utilize their unique skills. Things will get accomplished substantially faster and easier when individuals are aligned to do what has to be done.
Benefits of Team Alignment
- Improves transparency and accountability: when teams are aligned, everyone understands what the other is working on and how each member is responsible for a specific job that contributes to the final result. When your team is aligned, each member recognizes the value of their respective duties, as well as the team's overall vision. This fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity.
- Improve idea generation and processing: By offering a platform for dialogue, team alignment encourages employees to express their unique viewpoints and thoughts—this aids in the development of novel solutions to complex issues.
- Shared accountability for the results: The outcome is essentially the result of a collaborative effort, despite the fact that the output is personal. People in aligned teams are more collaborative since they have a common objective in mind, and they align their objectives to achieve it. Because they share similar goals and know what it takes to achieve them, team members are ready to support one another and are more open to compromise.
- Reduces redundancy and improves knowledge exchange: When the teams are unaligned, it can often result in redundant processes and waste of resources due to misunderstandings and miscommunication. As a result, team members end up running around in circles, seldom making decisions, and either don't accomplish their tasks or don't deliver work that fulfills the plan. Instead, team alignment promotes information exchange, ensuring that everyone has the knowledge needed to make the best decisions, work efficiently, and prioritize work that corresponds to the company's objectives.
- Increases trust level among employees and collaboration: a high level of understanding among team members leads to increased friendliness and tolerance. This understanding may originate from a technical, job-related conversation, but it leads to a personal relationship that contributes to developing a healthy work environment. This is especially important nowadays, when our workplaces, whether on-site or remote, are populated with individuals from different backgrounds and phases of life.
Impact of remote work on Team Alignment
- Many performance-related and personal difficulties are exacerbated and lumped together with other feelings of isolation, alienation, and loneliness due to a lack of face-to-face engagement. Virtual one-on-one meetings to discuss personal and professional issues can aid in the resolution of feelings of doubt or dissatisfaction.
- Remote managers may find it challenging to maintain team alignment because they believe they have lost visibility into their job and so have difficulties monitoring what their staff is focused on. Managers may be tempted to micromanage as a result of this. Attending daily team meetings or conducting weekly meetings with open discussion will help you stay on track and overcome challenges.
- A lot of unplanned communication that used to help with team alignment, such as cooler chat and other interactions, is no longer present. Thus, after the important company and team announcements, arranging casual open discussions can help clarify uncertainties and improve team cohesion.
- Many organizations have a significant problem in adjusting to remote work, which requires time and effort. During this time, things frequently slip off course, and teams become disorganized. Therefore, it might be beneficial to keep daily records of events to pinpoint where things have been compromised and adopt intentional fixes.
How can Ducalis.io help you with Team Alignment?
Ducalis.io is a tool that can assist you in achieving team alignment by helping you keep your team's priorities straight through managing the team’s collisions, choices, compromises, and conflicts. Prioritization facilitates the agreements on goals and resource distribution to achieve them. Therefore, building team alignment around collaborative prioritization allows you to:
- Get the big picture on what to do next.
- Save dozens of hours on sync-up meetings by identifying differences in opinions quickly and efficiently.
- Eliminate unnecessary work.
- Involve the team in the decision-making process by supporting different opinions and giving a chance for everyone to be heard.
The team alignment map reflects how different members value the priorities of different issues based on scores calculated, which reflect the diverse opinions of your team, and helps make everyone’s voice heard. The scores show what topics the team is or isn't aligned on. This allows team members to discuss only the issues that matter, thus saving time and preventing hours of unnecessary work. This will allow team alignment across multiple departments to take place. Also, team members can ask questions for things that they feel need clarification.
Ducalis.io Team Alignment tool
We have 5 tools to help you achieve team alignment with Ducalis.io:
- Custom prioritization criteria to reflect your goals. Ducalis.io allows you to use customizable criteria for the evaluation of issues. This allows you to utilize a different matrix for each team based on that team’s needs.
- Collaborative evaluation. You may invite everyone in your team to take part in the evaluation. This is empowering since it involves everyone, fosters idea sharing, and ensures that everyone’s voice is heard. As a result of seeing how others voted and what they think about various problems, people understand what is necessary and why. Therefore, they can see the big picture of what has to be done next.
- Score expiration for keeping priorities up to date. This feature helps to take a dynamic approach to assess the significance of issues. You can break the project down into sprints and cycles, after which you can reassess the importance of tasks in light of changing external circumstances. Therefore, your staff is always engaged and thinking of new ideas.
- Question section for clarifications. If anything is unclear about an issue, the easiest approach to clear it up is to ask questions. In Ducalis.io, there is a specific section for each issue where you may ask and receive questions from your teammates. Additionally, you can view all the questions that your team is debating, giving you a greater understanding of what is going on.
- Team alignment grid for checking diverse opinions. The team alignment grid in Ducalis.io allows you to identify exactly where your team has disagreements. It displays discrepancies in scores so that you may focus on problematic areas. You can compare the scores that users assigned to a criterion and measure the dispersion to determine the amount of alignment. Variation in scores is then expressed as a percentage.
Team Alignment Reports
With Ducalis.io, you have the option of generating three reports:
- Summary report. This report focuses on three main aspects:
This will allow you to save time by concentrating only on the areas that require attention, allowing you to identify places where the team is aligned and problematic regions. The areas of misalignment will require additional team discussion to ensure that everyone understands and is on the same page.
- Detailed criteria report. This report compares issues against evaluation criteria, and it is divided into three sections:
This report will help you figure out which criteria have alignment problems for each issue and on which topics people have differing opinions. Therefore, you'll be aware of which issues require additional clarification and discussion.
- Detailed users report. This report is divided into three areas of interest and connects issues to team members:
This report will show you which team members are the least aligned for each issue and, as a result, who you should contact to remedy the issue.
Why wait? Get started today for free!
Ducalis.io is a task prioritization tool that helps keep your team aligned around top priorities. It ensures that every team member’s opinion is heard and valued. Decisions are made collaboratively, so every team member feels empowered. Although team alignment is not a one-off thing, if done properly and repeatedly, it boosts team morale and shared understanding and leads to a decreased employee turnover in the long run. Ducalis.io has a free trial. Try it for yourself and invite team members to get better at your prioritization and team alignment efforts.