Team AlignmentWhen it Comes to Team Performance, What’s More Important … Talent or Alignment?
What Is Team Alignment and Why Is It So Important?
There are many factors that go into team performance. Talent, experience, organization, and leadership are vital aspects of building strong and high-performing teams. Yet more important than all of these is alignment. Despite having smart and experienced players in the right positions, corporate teams that are not aligned will underperform. Misalignment reduces business productivity, saps creative energy, muddles communication, and breeds cynicism.
When working with teams and groups of all sizes our top priority is helping the team get team aligned-if the right talent and experience is present, we know the results will follow. Team alignment is a broad term we use to refer to teams that have alignment, attunement and acceleration.
What I Can Help You With?
Team Alignment, Attunement and Acceleration
Brian helps groups become teams and teams become aligned, attuned, and accelerating.
Aligned teams share a clear and inspiring understanding and commitment to the team’s vision, goals and core strategies.
Attuned teams understand themselves and others and feel strongly connected to other team members’ feelings and needs. They are responsive to one another and to the team because they know and care about each other.
Accelerating teams move forward together in a common direction, focused on common goals and operating norms. They use key metrics to track results and members act because they know they are responsible for their contributions.
Stages of Team Development
High performing team members understand the four-stage team development model: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. They understand that this developmental model describes stages that are sequential, though not linear. The alignment process requires different areas of focus depending on the stage of growth a team is in.
Brian’s team alignment process guides teams through this model to help them become higher performing.
Thinking Styles and Enneagram Types
How do teams progress through stages and become more deeply attuned?
Brian uses the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) to help team members understand each other’s thinking preference and how this effects team dynamics, communication, and performance.
Brian also uses the Enneagram to help team members understand each other’s motivations for their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. When the Enneagram is applied to the entire team, the team understands its strengths and areas of potential challenge. The Enneagram also helps increase personal self-awareness and self-mastery and can be used to discover the changes a team member needs to make to be a more effective team member or leader.
Team Alignment Prep Work
Prior to working with a team, Brian interviews key members and uses a combination of confidential questionnaires, HBDI assessments or Enneagram typing assessments. This pre-work is vital to understanding how a team functions and where it focus efforts to help it perform better.
Signs Your Team is not Aligned
- Lack of trust among team members
- Passive-aggressive behavior (e.g., agreeing to one thing in a meeting and doing another the next day)
- Inefficient or unclear communication
- Lack of healthy conflict
- Low risk-taking or creative thinking
- Low commitment, engagement and passion of team members
- No personal responsibility or accountability for actions
- Unclear agreements and commitments between team members
- The formation of sub-groups
- A small majority of dissenters slow down progress on initiatives
- Turnover, especially of new additions to the team
- Ineffectiveness in the marketplace and/or poor operating results
Learn more about Quadrant’s Top Team Alignment Process in this white paper:
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What Exactly is Team Alignment? Do I really need it?
Here’s What our Clients Say:
If you are not willing to challenge yourself, your peers and your company then Team Alignment is not for you. This was the first step in tuning up my own performance. I am looking forward to the rest of the journey.
Brian is a gifted, emotional IQ genius. His Zen-like approach and demeanor was perfect for our group of intense personalities as he allows us to drop our shields and get to our true selves.
Working with Brian Gast and applying his method has been instrumental for me in becoming a more effective leader and a happier family member and individual. Brian has systematically guided me to understanding myself. I have become more effective at influencing my organization and leading people to collaborate. When working with teams, Brian comes across as genuine and focused and applies a process that works. This has lead to amazing progress for my senior team in a short period of time.
I have been to several “team building” events. I thought I had a good idea of what we were going to do. I could not have been more surprised. Nothing we did was easy but it all felt right. I have never connected with anyone I have worked with like I did in our session with Brian. I left with a tremendous amount of new respect and commitment to the success of my other team members. I left ready to make changes in how I lead and committed to help my other teams do the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a team know it is not in alignment?
Unaligned teams lack a common direction and sense of purpose. They face persistent, recurring negative patterns and dynamics. Additionally, unaligned teammates demonstrate poor communication and limited empathy. Energy is wasted on internal bickering between members.
The best indicator that a team is not aligned is found a company’s lack of progress toward its goals. Sooner or later non-alignment shows up in the numbers.
Top Team Alignment is possible when individual members share a common vision, values, and priorities.
Alignment occurs because the team understands how various relationships among members can be leveraged. When a team is aligned, the style and preferences of individual members are understood and valued by all.
What types of situations benefit from the Top Team Alignment process?
Alignment is extremely useful for addressing poor relationships, communication and decision-making patterns within existing teams. Unhealthy conflict among group members can be resolved by Team Alignment.
Team Alignment is invaluable when a leader embarks upon a new direction, strategy or cause.
In cases where there is new leadership, or where a significant number of team members are new (during a merger or consolidation, for instance) Team Alignment will accelerate integration.
The CEO of my team has excellent facilitation skills. Why bring in someone from outside?
A simple response is – if the team could solve their own problems, there wouldn’ t be any problems.
If a system breakdown exists or a new initiative or strategy is slow to launch and the solution could be accessed from within the group, it would have happened by now.
An outside facilitator brings a new perspective, which can help the team see issues from a different point of view.
In addition, I can discuss sensitive issues in non-threatening ways that lead to greater awareness among the team members.
Having an outside facilitator also takes the pressure off the team leader — he or she does not have to worry about logistics, performing or eliciting politically-correct responses due to existing relationships.
How does the Top Team Alignment process work? And what are the outcomes besides getting the team aligned?
I always maintain focus on your core business issue and basic goal for the team. These become the central topic of the alignment process.
Prior to any team meetings, my staff and I will conduct diagnostic interviews and/or administer profiling to define the issues clearly. We strive to get a deeper understanding of the leadership styles of participants and the team dynamics.
The loosely-structured team session format is designed to fit your circumstances (and may often be changed on the fly). I use tested processes and guided activities to highlight team interfaces that may be getting in the way of development.
At the end of the process, concrete solutions are identified to address problems. Equally important, there is individual and team awareness of problem-solving styles, conflict resolution styles and relationship issues unique to the team.
Off-sites are expensive. We simply do not have the time to pull the whole team off the tasks at hand. How do we justify a 2-day off-site session?
If the top management team of an organization cannot delegate its duties to others for two days, then one could conclude that a breakdown exists right now, one that needs to be addressed quickly. If the top team is chained to the office, all the more reason to have an off-site conference to see how ‘strategic’ leaders use their time.
Most teams report that after a Top Team Alignment process, they operate far more efficiently and quickly overcome long-standing obstacles. Teams are more innovative in an off-site setting than when meeting for short periods in their offices. Isn’t missing a few emails worth the value of aligning your team?
What makes you so effective at this work?
My 12 years as a CEO in high-growth and transitioning companies combines with specific training and experience working with groups to give me unique insight in this field.
I have led hundreds of team processes. As a result, I have gained the experience needed to address core issues which may be blocking a team from operating at their highest level.
I am unafraid to see the “elephant” in the room; the huge central problem that most people are hesitant to consider.
I understand that measurable results are the top priority. With this perspective I can help a team discover what is working and what is not working, in terms of relationships and communication. Top Team Alignment exercises are designed to illuminate blind spots.
What is the investment associated with the Team Alignment process?
The level of investment varies depending on the size of the company, number of participants, the number of facilitators, the amount of time spent on diagnostic interviewing, and the time involved in off-site meetings. Typical alignment processes range from $7,500 to $25,000 for one to two days and a team of less than 15 people. Travel and other out-of-pocket expenses are billed separately.
What happens after the Team Alignment process?
Part of the alignment process involves finding methods for integrating new initiatives with the rest of the organization. Strategic communications and follow-up meetings among top team members and their respective workgroups build consensus.
To measure progress and review implementation, companies often schedule a follow-up meeting 3 to 4 months after the Top Team Alignment meetings.
In some cases, one-on-one coaching for individuals or for the entire team becomes necessary to integrate changes or deal with issues in greater depth.