To keep your car on the road, you need to ensure that the wheels are aligned. If you’ve ever driven a car with misaligned wheels, you’ll know it’s a weird, not to say, dangerous condition.
The car seems to have a mind of its own, tracking to one side or other; steering is vague and your confidence is shaken. Will I make it round this corner? Will I get where I’m going?
Alignment of all team members
Large projects can often have the feeling of being on the verge of chaos. There are so many variables that teams are managing that keeping them all in the right order can be a challenge. Our work with teams on large capital projects shows that there is often a predictable pattern as we work with a team.
First, there is firefighting, where many urgent issues need attention.
Next we observe a shift to the leaders and team becoming a little more reflective and open to talking about how the team is doing.
Finally, the team recognises that if it invests time and effort in team productivity, the payback can be dramatic.
We suggest team leaders think carefully about alignment when they embark on team development.
Is your large project team aligned?
3 questions for leaders of teams to ask themselves:
- What stage is your team in? Are you in the firefighting stage? If so, you’re likely thinking about ‘banging heads together’ (an expression a client used not long ago). There are probably many challenges that your team could be working on – clarity of the execution plan; support of sponsors; getting work done on site; relationships between owner and contractor; making sure you have the right people on the project; and on it goes…
- Are you clear about what development the team needs to be aligned? Do you have a vision for the kind of team you want to lead? One of our clients speak passionately about the need for his team to be intentional because he has been on a team that successfully completed a challenging, dangerous piece of work. He has a model in mind of what his current team needs to be to be successful. Do you?
- Are you committed to spending the time and money on developing the team? Developing a project team (or any other team for that matter) takes sustained effort. An aligned team is created over time, by developing habits and behaviours that will ensure the team stays on the road and is successful. As with any effort, this takes commitment and investment.
Success is found through the repeated application of the right effort at the right time. Alignment means that team members are working effortlessly towards the goal of project success.
Click here to learn more about the work we do with large project team alignment and what results you can expect from your team.