If you feel individuals in your team are pulling in different directions from you and each other, its usually because of one or more of the following:
- You haven’t actually set the direction for your business
- You haven’t communicated the direction effectively enough to everyone in your team
- The direction you’ve set isn’t exciting to your team, so they haven’t bought into it
To ensure all of your team are on the same side as you, you’ll want to set and communicate an exciting common goal for your business that unites and engages everyone in your team. The common goal of your business is there to give everyone in the team a clear direction to head in.
Two types of common goals
If you’re a business owner or director looking to create a business that gives you the lifestyle you want personally, then you’re effectively in the process of creating a lifestyle business. And because being in business should give you more life, this is a very worthy goal indeed. When it comes to your team, you living your best life is probably a lot less exciting to them than it is to you.
That means you’ll want to agree a common goal that’s exciting to your team, as well as one that supports your own personal goals. You’re looking to set up a ‘win-win’ situation in your business, where everyone wins.
Part of your goal might relate to the meaning your business’s work has to your team and the wider world in which you all operate. Feeling that what we do matters a great deal because it has significant impact on our self-esteem and our overall confidence. Think back to earlier in your career: why did you go into your industry in the first place? On some level, was it to make the world a better place?
You’ll also want to consider the viability of financial rewards for the team when you all achieve and exceed your profit goals. Yes, its great for you that you’ve had another nice holiday or get to have a different car every year. Again, not so motivating for your team because they won’t necessarily understand how much blood, sweat and tears you’ve poured into your business over the years. Another form of financial reward for your team is having a clear career development path for each of your team members. This is an universal motivator for almost all employees in all industries.
If setting a common goal doesn’t float your boat, that’s absolutely fine. Most businesses never set a common goal anyway (but most businesses aren’t that successful often because they have heap of ‘people’ issues). If you decide not to set a common goal, you’ll have to accept that your team will never be aligned, and they’ll continue to pull in different directions because they’re not clear where they’re going in their role in your business. Generally once you’ve got a few team members, the lack of alignment across your team tends to add to your burden. Making it more difficult for you to achieve your personal goals as you get drawn into fixing issues that arise from the lack of alignment and motivation within the team.
Because your shared goal is going to help you get what you want personally, its definitely worth considering working on a common goal for your business.
If you’re creating a lifestyle business, then consider common goals that relate to being the best in your industry and/or geography. Another extremely effective alternative is to have a shared goal around a common enemy. You and your team might want to rid the world of bad design (for example), or beat your biggest competitor.
Creating a legacy
The second type of common goal is where you want to create a legacy because you have a very strong vision for your business that will carry on long-term. Possibly beyond when you retire, and possibly even beyond your death.
An example of a vision is ActionCOACH’s “World abundance through business re-education.” It means that by educating people on how to run more efficient businesses this will create a situation there’s enough to go around for everyone on the planet. It’s a very big goal, with a very long timeframe. Its also succinct enough for everyone in the ActionCOACH team to remember and focus on. Ask anyone from the ActionCOACH team what the vision is, and they’ll be able to tell you.
Getting the people you deserve
As well as uniting your current team, an exciting common goal will enable you to able to attract a better calibre of employee.
You’ll also be able to deselect any candidates you interview if don’t seem excited by your common goal when you share it with them during your interview process. If someone on your isn’t aligned with the common goal of the business, then they’re pulling in a different direction and (knowingly or unknowingly sabotaging the efforts of the rest of your team.