From ego to alignment
Internationally certified team coach Angela van Dorssen talks about her daily practice.
One of the most common issues that I come across is a lack of alignment in management teams and on management boards. The inability to take a decision together. When personal interests are prioritised over the collective result. It’s logical, when you think about it. The bigger the team, the more interests there are. The more that is at stake, the more challenging it can be to take decisions. And if you take a decision, you’re responsible for its outcome. When things go wrong too! So it’s more appealing to not make a choice or to continue defending your own position. AND it costs money and leads to frustrations.
Going round in circles
Last week I had a talk with a board of directors in the agricultural industry. The aim of the meeting was to decide on the content for a training for all of the company’s staff. Staff who don’t meet agreements, who don’t discuss issues with each other, and who take offence at feedback. The thing that struck me most during the talk was how divided the board members were. While this is usually a good thing, in this case we were unable to arrive at a specific outcome. I asked them: “To what extent do you have a collective idea of what the training should achieve?” This hit the nail on the head: they didn’t, so we spent a lot of time going round in circles.
Your team does what you do
Suddenly, the penny dropped. They realised that if the board doesn’t have a collective idea, the staff will put their personal interests first, copy their behaviour and nothing will change. They decided to work on this first and to park the training for a while.
Unanimous decisions are a utopia
Alignment is not the same as an unanimous decision. It means that you support the decision. You say ‘YES’ and you do ‘YES’. If, once you’ve discussed the matter properly, you can’t decide unanimously, the next step is to arrive at the best possible decision. Also if this means setting aside your own interests in order to a safeguard the team result.
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