infoTECH Feature

September 24, 2020

Tips to Keep Your Team on the Same Page

Use These Strategies and Tactics to Keep Your Team on the Same Page

One of the more challenging aspects of managing a team is keeping everyone on the same page. Coordinating schedules, streamlining communication, and checking in with the right people at the right time can feel like a major challenge. But it’s possible!

What Does it Mean to be on the Same Page?

“Getting on the same page” sounds nice, but what does it actually mean?  In other words, what does it look like for a team to track together?

While the specifics will vary from team to team, here are some of the desired outcomes:

  • Clearly documented processes. If a lack of documentation is a sign that there’s no plan, clearly documented processes indicate specificity and focus. Do your best to clearly document all processes in a visible place. This allows team members to move with purpose and conviction (without unnecessary back and forth communication and meetings).
  • Fewer meetings. Speaking of meetings, you want fewer of them. A team that’s in good alignment doesn’t need a bunch of meetings to talk about what needs to be done - they just go out and do it. Meetings exist for the sake of bringing clarity. Call a meeting if you really need clarity on something, but the goal is that things are so clear already that meetings become unnecessary by default.

  • Accountability. Management should not be the only one following up with people, implementing consequences, or praising good behavior. There should be a culture of accountability where people rally around one another, speak up, and move with conviction.
  • Less talk, more action. Planning is important in some scenarios, but it’s easy to let planning go too far. A team that’s in alignment spends less time talking and more time doing. The goal is to move and then iterate.
  • Results-based updates. A team that’s on the same page has few updates about activities that are in process and more updates about results, progress, and accomplishments.

When it’s all said and done, getting on the same page is about being in alignment. It doesn’t mean everyone thinks and says the same things - it just means there’s a collective understanding of expectations, goals, and desired behavior. In theory, it's that simple.

4 Tips to Get Aligned

If your team feels fragmented, divided, or discombobulated, it’s important that you deal with these issues sooner rather than later. Here are a few of our favorite strategies for bringing a team into alignment and onto the same page:

1. Organize and Centralize

There has to be some organization and centralization in your business. In practical terms, this means having a singular location where team members can access documentation, tools, resources, communications, etc.

There are numerous tools and solutions for accomplishing this, but an intranet is arguably the most comprehensive and effective (in terms of infusing alignment into a fragmented team). This is basically a private computer network that operates within the company - a digital workspace, if you will.

As Happeo explains, “Implementing an intranet brings your company together in an efficient and organized way, no matter where your workforce is located. Employees can share thoughts across departments, managers and leaders can disperse important information, and all technology utilized by a company can be found in one place – all within a secure network.”

Again, there are other tools that allow for organization and communication, but the benefit of an intranet is that it’s all in one place. There’s no need to connect multiple tools or splice together features. It’s all there waiting for your team to access.

2. Let Clear Expectations Drive Autonomy (News - Alert)

In a well-aligned team, there’s high individual autonomy. Each member of the team feels empowered to act, make decisions, and move with conviction. It isn’t always necessary to climb the chain of command and get approval for small decisions (or even some larger ones). But you don’t arrive at this place by chance.

The only way to create a culture of autonomy is to hire the right people and set clear expectations from the start. If you have a certain expectation, it needs to be emphasized, reiterated, and followed through on...over and over again.

3. Provide Quick Updates

Can we all agree that meetings are terrible? Just a quick analysis of the latest data shows that the average employee attends 62 meetings every month and that 37 percent of meetings add no tangible value to the business. Plus, from a management perspective, they’re expensive! If you have eight people in a meeting and their value is around $50 per hour, every hour-long meeting is costing you roughly $400. Is that really worth it?

Instead of meetings, try quick updates. These could be “stand up” meetings, 10-minute huddles, or quick monthly town halls where you cover what’s happening and provide a couple of words of encouragement.

4. Give People a Say

In many organizations, the “command and control” style of management runs rampant. This is where decisions are made at the top and then executed at the bottom. Everything runs top-down and people are expected to act like good little soldiers responding to an all-powerful general. But that’s not a good way to keep people on the same page.

“In situations like this, it’s very hard to keep a team aligned,” engineering manager Cormac McGuire writes. “It’s incredibly demotivating for a team to just execute someone else’s orders. If you deny a team of making their own decisions, don’t be surprised when they leave for a team where they can.”

A better option is to involve people in the direction and let them contribute ideas. Then you tease out the good from the bad and ultimately establish a team mindset that people are eager to buy into (because it values their ideas and voice).

Adding it All Up

Getting a team on the same page basically means bringing everyone into alignment with one another. And if you’re going to bring everyone into alignment, you have to set some clear goals and action steps. But remember - less talk and more action. As soon as you come up with a plan, execute. You can then track the results and iterate over time.


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