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Strategy

How can strategy and tech leaders improve their collaboration?

In all team sports, each team has its clear goal, to beat the other team, right? Now, try to picture a football team where each player has a different goal in mind and a different strategy to achieve it; do you see them winning? 

In business, like in sports, nothing guarantees failure more than a lack of alignment. Nothing guarantees mission failure more than a lack of alignment in a senior leadership team. When alignment does not exist, the entire company reflects it, from the high-ups not having a clear path to achieve the mission to employees who won’t feel connected to a shared sense of purpose. 

Nevertheless, as important as company collaboration and leadership alignment are, it's common for teams to be misaligned, which damages the success of any organization. We know that sometimes seeing eye to eye and agreeing on things is not an easy task, so in this article, we want to share a few tips that strategy and tech leaders can implement to achieve better collaboration outcomes.

What is Leadership Alignment?

Ok, first things first. What exactly is leadership alignment?

We can say that there is leadership alignment when a group of decision-making people agree on a set of shared objectives and identify a common roadmap to reach them. Simply put, aligned teams agree on a business strategy and how to execute it in order to move their team, business unit, department or company forward.

The exact “how” of leadership alignment is different, depending on each company and its culture. Still, normally an aligned leadership will debate, support each other, and consider each area of the company to lead the team in what is most important.

A strong leadership alignment is crucial for a company’s success; it is a great competitive differentiator to drive faster and more effective innovation within the team. Companies with a solid leadership alignment report higher growth, performance, and profitability, plus they strengthen the ability of their organization to take on masterfully any unexpected challenge. 

5 Tips to Improve Leadership Alignment 

Now that it is clear how alignment is key across all teams, and even more when it comes to the leadership teams, it is time to know how to implement it within our teams. Here are a few tips on how leaders can collaborate to achieve a solid leadership alignment.

1. The Why

Most organization leaders spend a lot of resources to identify what their company does and how to do it, but almost no time on the why of the company. This is much more than a rookie mistake; without identifying the “why,” it is difficult to build a solid organizational culture and a roadmap to success.

Therefore, the first step to achieving a leadership alignment should be to agree on what you do as an organization and why you do it. For this, your leadership team needs time to agree on sharing common definitions and facts about the company to be all on the same page regarding the organization´s vision, mission, and values. Once agreed upon, it’s important to check in regularly to ensure everyone stays on course.

Once the "why" has been identified and agreed upon, the leadership team must use it as the cornerstone for all decisions related to building the organizational culture and paving the way to achieve specific results. It is crucial that every decision and communication must align with the culture and values.

2. Shared vision

Although leadership alignment is crucial for success, it’s not all that matters for real collaboration within the team. Once you have fully aligned leaders, it is important to always keep the company’s vision as a guiding compass for all transcendental decisions. 

It is important for leaders to communicate the vision regularly and to make sure the team understands it and aligns with it. This will enable the entire organization to have something to get behind and will make employees feel that their work matters and is more connected to something bigger than the daily chores. 

A strong shared vision also creates a sense of identity within the company and drives a work culture that allows employees to feel more united and thrive.

3. Constant Communication

As in any type of relationship, having healthy communication with your employees is key for a successful work dynamic. As important as your external communications might be (with agencies, clients, stakeholders, etc.), focusing on having a clear understanding within your organization might be even more important for success. 

Good and constant communication will help your leadership team to agree on common strategies and to identify areas of improvement. But, communication should permeate a company from top to bottom (especially if you’re leading a remote or hybrid remote workforce) for everyone to understand the right actions to take and the desired goal to achieve. 

Remember, to implement this step, it is important to establish proper communication channels and keep improving them.

4. Clear Goal

What do great athletes and politicians have in common? They have a strong goal in mind and a clear vision of what a win looks like. If you don’t know what you want, how can you achieve it? And, more important, how can you align a team around it? That is why it is crucial always to identify what winning looks like to achieve success. 

Forbes recommends in an article that once a team has defined their shared vision and goals, they first individually picture what winning looks like and then share those ideas with the team. Going through this exercise is will help the team to shape a common goal and to share with each other how everyone understands a win.

5. Accountability

Another vital aspect of leadership alignment is as strange as it sounds, division. However, this must be understood not as free for all situations but as a scenario where each team member "owns" a specific part of the project and is accountable for its development and outcomes. 

Divisions work well because it allows a team to focus on a single outcome with a leadership structure that supports its major strategic objectives. In this structure, aligned leaders pave the way to achieve the desired outcome while others assist in driving the outcome. Finally, all those  “supporting” team members can be regularly informed and share information on the progress with one another.

In business, change is constant, so companies must intentionally work to stay aligned from leadership to the bottom line. Having an established strong culture of alignment will help any team to stay objective and solutions-oriented through internal and external challenges that might arise. Using these five steps will help you and your team to stay aligned, which will create a great foundation for a winning team.

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