How to Align Team Goals

Published on 21st April 2018 in Goal Setting

How to Align Goals in a Team?

It seems obvious. Everybody in a team should be pulling in the same direction.

But how can you ensure a quality cascade of goals through all levels in a function or department? Here are a very simple exercise and a framework that can take as little as an hour to align the goals for 3 people at 3 different levels in the same department.

To kick off the process, the most senior person goes to a whiteboard and:

  1. Writes down their Objectives, Goals, Strategy and Measures (OGSM).
  2. At first, there can be a tendency to list the key projects and initiative, but it’s important to discuss why these points have made ‘the list’. What was the logic for these initiatives? Why were they important? How did they fit with the business strategy? This takes the thinking up a level.
  3. After the leader has explained their OGSMs, the direct report, who has heard this list being collated, steps up to write their OGSMs. As you can see in the below diagram, the Leader’s Strategy becomes the team member’s Objective. The Leader’s Measures became the direct report’s Goals. This exercise can then be repeated a third time if there’s another level below.

Next Step: The Goal Challenge

Compare the aligned OGSMs with the current ‘to do’ lists

  • Compare the OGSM list with the current “to do” list for each team member. How much time is actually being spent on these key activities? The answer can be a shock. It might be less than half.
  • To fix this situation, decide what to stop and what to delegate. This will require some difficult conversations since people will expect the team to continue to deliver some of these activities.
  • It’s much easier to have these difficult conversations if you can refer to the aligned OGSMs and demonstrate how these other “legacy” activities might not be connected to these high value aligned goals.

This is a very productive way to align goals in a team.


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