3 Ways to Align Your Team

Posted by Jenni Catron on Jun 15, 2021 2:25:07 PM
I’m a meticulous researcher prior to making a significant purchase. I always want to be sure to stretch my dollar as far as it will go and get the best value I can. This is never more true than when making a car purchase. And once I’ve decided, I am sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and care, because, again, I want to be sure to steward my investment and make it last as long as possible. 
That means I get all the recommended oil changes, tune-ups, and tire rotations. If I don’t, the engine can get clunky and the tires go out of alignment. The experience of driving when my tires are out of alignment is one of my least favorite. The pulling to one side or another. The wobbling when I want to accelerate (and I DO like to accelerate.) I find them particularly troubling because they’re avoidable.
So is a lack of alignment on your team.
When a team member is out of alignment, it can cause the same drift and shakiness to the organization that a tire out of alignment can cause to your vehicle. And it’s not difficult to discover. The results of a project are slightly different than expected. The language written to your stakeholders feels a little “off.” You find yourself asking, “Why are we doing this?” or “Why are we doing this, this way?”
Bringing team members back to alignment can be a bit more challenging. To do so, we must decipher where the breakdown is. Because even a 2-degree drift in direction, over time, can result in landing at a destination that is far off course.

1. Cast vision every day. 

The adage is true that vision leaks. It’s also true that consistently communicated and acted upon vision spreads. It may not spread as quickly and as easily as it leaks, which is why continually seizing opportunities to cast and recast vision is so crucial. Invite your team to embrace the vision of the organization at every turn. 
2. Give the gift of guardrails.

Having team values that guide decision-making gives your team the gift of clear lanes to operate within and rumble strips to alert them that they are drifting toward the guardrails. When your team members know the values--those guiding principles that communicate what matters most--they are equipped to not only move forward quickly but also to move forward in the right direction.
3. Maintain before you repair.

Just like with vehicle maintenance, it’s better to regularly and clearly communicate with your team members about expectations and performance than it is to wait until something breaks and you’re forced to repair it. Weekly one-on-one meetings, regular staff meetings, clear expectations...these are the organizational tune-ups that prevent crashes and keep you from having to make costly repairs.
Which of these 3 areas do you need to give some focused attention? Do you need to revisit your mission and vision with your team? Do you need to create or communicate more consistently about your team values? Are there team maintenance rhythms that you need to build or practice more intentionally?
Clear direction is a gift to your team. It allows you all to stay aligned, move quickly, and go further together. 


Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.




Topics: Leadership, Leadership Development, Team Culture

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