Leadership in Action – 5 Steps to Strategic Team Alignment

person in black shirt walking on green grass field during daytime

From time to time, as a leader you need to make a strategic shift that challenges the status quo for your team members. Don’t be surprised when there is great resistance to this new direction. The following five steps will help move your team into alignment and provide a higher probability of success.


  1. General Comments

Start by having each team member state their position. The key is for them to state their position, first by focusing on benefits of making this change and then the concerns they have with the new direction. This helps get the different viewpoints out on the table, but also has them start to move toward the solution as they articulate the benefits. Minimize the debate during this time, as you are just letting each team member state their thoughts.


  1. Why is this new direction important?

The second step is to have the team list all the reasons why this change is important. This helps prepare for communicating the change to the rest of the organization, as well as keeping the team in the right space for the next steps.


  1. What does success look like?

To continue to align the team, create the replacement picture – what does success look like?  Asking the team members to define the criteria gets them invested in that success. Once your team has come to this replacement picture, check in with each team member to ensure there is agreement about the desired outcome.


  1. What are potential challenges to overcome?

While it may seem counter intuitive, at this point it is healthy to address potential challenges to the success. This is not why the plan will not work, but what hurdles or potential pushback need to be addressed. After identifying a list of potential challenges, have the team chose the top three or four. With each challenge, work through potential actions that can be taken to overcome it. Creating this level of forethought will further drive commitment by the team.


  1. What are the next steps?

Finally, determine next steps that are needed to implement the change. Assign accountability to each step identified. Accountability is key, not for the team member to do all the work, but for each person who owns a step.


When you work through these five steps, you have taken time to listen to each person’s perspective, and engaged them in defining what success looks like. This leaves you with a clear plan for Energizing Action.