As a business owner, I’ll bet you’ve been frustrated at times with your company’s ability to get things done. A lot of my clients that felt the same way, and certainly I did when I was running businesses.
Well, making your company way more productive is so much easier when you understand the underlying root causes. But to do that you’ve got to ask yourself a key question: Does your team see the key issues and priorities the same way you do? These things are self-evident to you. You live with them day and night, right? But does everybody else get it the same way that you do?
Imagine if you could graph people’s understanding, what would that picture look like? A graph which showed that you’ve got a few people that get it, but for the most part there’s not a lot of understanding. Or one where across the board, everybody understands what the key objectives are and why we’re doing it. Well, if your picture looks like the former, then the underlying root cause is you don’t have great alignment. There’s not a shared understanding about the business that starts at the top with you and works its way all the way down to the bottom of the company.
Creating alignment is actually really easy.
There are three things that you can do that will help you create alignment really fast.
- Write your plan down on paper. Remember I talked about radical simplicity, cause I’m sure right now you’re saying, “Duh, of course write the plan down on paper.” But you know, maybe you’re one of the 40% of business owners that actually have a plan. But the vast majority of our clients when we start working with them, didn’t really have a plan and much less one that was down on paper.
- The second one is to share that plan with your team. It isn’t enough for you to have the plan. The reason for putting it on a single piece of paper is that you can share that plan with everybody in the company so that they get what’s in your head.
- Talk about it every chance you get. Because hearing it once doesn’t stick with people. You have to be able to reiterate the key aspects of the plan and why it’s important. You’ve got to be doing that all the time.
Putting your plan on paper and sharing automagically creates alignment. Writing it down is the best way for people to understand what you want. Then it’s really clear. It’s black and white on a page. And there are other benefits.
Plans reduce risk. This is like gold for a business owner, right? How do I take risk out of trying to grow the business? When other people are with you and they are aligned with you, then there isn’t as much opportunity for people to run off the reservation and be doing stuff that doesn’t matter. You have limited resources. You do not have time for people to be working on things that don’t drive the business forward.
Sharing a plan with somebody else actually improves morale inside your company. This is a little-known fact but incredibly powerful. There is a lot of science behind this: When you share the plan and somebody gets aligned around it, then they have an opportunity to get excited. They understand the value of their work, and everything makes sense to them. It’s more motivating to them, and so they want to work hard to make that happen. They get optimistic about the outcome. Research show that companies that have that kind of optimism are really resilient in the face of challenges and more often than not, will figure out a way to walk through walls to get stuff done.
All that means is that plan save time, right? Like I said, you don’t have unlimited resources and so you’ve got to husband your time and spend it wisely. Well, when you have a plan and everybody gets that plan, then there isn’t wasted time.
And lastly, plans encourage innovation and improvement. I know you understand that two heads are better than one, and six or 10 heads is going to be way better. Well, when you share your plan with your team and they understand what you’re trying to do, then it unlocks all of this creativity, all of this excitement about helping to make things happen. And then you don’t have to be the only one that is constantly thinking of all the new ideas.
Promoting alignment is one of Kalabra’s Six Hallmarks of Fast Growing Companies. Get a free download here.