Getting everyone on the same page...
Have you ever heard the phrase "...we need to get on the same page here...?" Have you ever said it?
I know I must have (many times).
However on hearing that many (if not most) would then reply, "...and what page are you talking about exactly?" It's a very, very important question. Because to be effective, a team needs to be aligned not only for today or for a current project but for every hour, every day.
A good place to begin aligning everyone is to explain why the company exists and what you do for your customers. Many would then point to their vision and mission statements.
Important note: Just by the way, I've made just about all the mistakes it's possible to make while running a business over they years so I say this with love and respect in my heart for all those CEOs and entrepreneurs reading this...
Now, I would guess that you could guess - or get very close to guessing - just about anyone's vision statement or mission statements if you gave it even a little thought.
Many sound very much alike. I went to a hospital recently and theirs read:
Vision: The Preferred Healthcare Provider.
Mission: Deliver Quality Healthcare Services.
Sound familiar? I'll refrain from naming which hospital it is, but I promise it's exactly what's written, word for word.
The problem with this is that many team members don't buy into their own company's vision.They may be able to recite it and even understand what it means logically, but do they really connect with it at a deep emotional level?. Are they able to take what it says and relate it specifically to their own jobs and everyday tasks? My guess would be probably not. And if they can't, then it's really only there for show and if we're not careful staff may even get cynical about it.
Let's use a phone number as a start point...(just follow me through if you've got this far...)
We can understand and remember phone numbers because they have a structure. International code, area code, local phone number. I suggest breaking down your company's vision the same way.
International Dialling Code
The company's core values. How we do things here: the foundation upon which all key decisions are made.
Area Code The Company's Purpose ('purpose' and 'mission' are the same in my book). Why the company exists. Hint: if it's just about the money it will limit your growth. Purpose is more about the journey, not the destination.
Local Phone Number
The company's brand promises. What you are committing to provide to a customer each and every time they engage with you.
Every team member can understand this, connect with it and relate it directly to their daily, weekly and monthly routines. They could also explain it to any new staff member, or someone who's considering applying for a post with the company...(or anyone else for that matter).
What number do you want to dial...Enter the B.H.A.G. TM
When you've simplified the characteristics of the company, you have to give the company a direction: we have to point it somewhere. Put another way, now you know your own phone number, what number are you going to dial?
The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (B.H.A.G.) is the specific, quantifiable and measurable goal that the company is moving towards. It could be five, ten, or more years out, and it becomes the guiding star for your journey. It needs to be measured regularly and everyone needs to know the score in real time.
Getting everyone "on the same page" is a continuous process - you're never done. But if you start by getting the components of your page right, it becomes a lot easier.
My very best,