Within the wide area of organizational development, teamwork alignment is one of my primary interests.
One of the bloggers writing about this that I follow is Aad Boot, who aptly wrote about two top reasons CEOs are failing to properly align their company’s work:
1. Believing that people alignment can be left to middle management.
“I regularly come across CEOs who feel they’re so busy, or their company so under pressure, that they have to focus on defining strategy and priorities and can [therefore] delegate the execution and creation of alignment to their management.”
2. Believing that alignment is like fixing a broken computer.
“When people are not performing well, you pay attention and you fix it. When it’s fixed, you [think you] can move on to other tasks. Successful CEOs understand that people alignment is much more fundamental and ongoing. They actively monitor people alignment, like taking the temperature of the body.”
While the CEOs has a crucial role in the aligning of work of the company, all the different departments and offices spanning several countries, it is the role of the teamleader to act as the primary alignment enabler in teams. If we follow the thinking of Aad Boot when it comes to delegation of alignment (and culture enhancement), we could also conclude that a team leader who delegates to the team members to prioritize ailgnment is making sure that the team is not reaching it’s potential.
When I have had leadership roles in the past, I have mostly “frozen up” when it comes to team alignment, even though I have from an early adult age been very interested in OD. I have, basically, been lacking the toolset to enable team alignment, and I had also failed to properly ask for help from more experienced people.
Particularly when it comes to cross-national teams, I have been faced with this challenge. My primary example is 2000-2002 when I was president of the board of a Euroepan-wide student network, the student wing of the Coimbra Group. I had board members who were situated all around Europe. We all had our different localized work at our home universities, and I failed to properly motivate, align and manage my team.
This was a solid wake-up call for me personally, and since then I have been heavily interested in how communication tools can act as enablers within organizations. Particularly, conference calls/webinars, videoblogging and screencasting were areas that I explored.
Since 2009 I have now worked in the telecom industry, and I now see how important it is to properly manage the use of available tools across cross-national teams. There are many interesting developments, technically speaking, but what I often see in the market is that while the technology might advance at a great speed, the attitudes of teams in companies and other organizations is lagging behind.
Teamwork alignment can be done in many ways, but what is clear, and what I will explore through case studies on this blog the coming months is how technology can help the CEO and team leaders to communicate more effectively to and with their teams.