One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is how to improve coordination among team members. While most teams are aligned to some degree, they are often not aligned to the degree that they could be. Check this out in your own organization. Ask individual team members independently what the top three strategic imperatives are for their team. If you hear a wide variety of answers, you will know that team members are not as closely aligned behind a common vision as they could be.
When people are not aligned behind a compelling vision there is a risk that people will “check out” or end up “spinning their wheels.” Checking out occurs when people do not see how their work contributes to anything larger. When work is perceived as having little significance, it is common for people to disengage and resign themselves to low impact work that requires just enough effort to get by.
Spinning your wheels happens when people double their effort but don’t get any traction. These people are working hard but it is unclear how their work is contributing to the direction the group is heading. When this occurs, people experience false starts, have to redo work, or discover that others have already done the same work.
A clear vision and goal setting helps in both of these cases. When people can see where the larger group is heading and why heading that way is important, they can begin to work in the same direction. Instead of wasting their time on low impact projects—or redoing work that misses the mark—they can focus on high impact areas that directly contribute to shared goals and subsequently improve the company’s bottom line.