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How to Align Your Team through Change

Eight Principles for Purposeful Alignment

Effective teamwork requires individual members of the team to be connected by, and aligned to a common purpose, values and sense of identity. Sometimes individuals can drift away from the team as a result of the mental limitations they create about their work and role.

The following eight principles can be considered as a guide to the type of thinking and action that will serve you well in your interactions with your colleagues:

1. Success starts with clarity of purpose
Successful people, in whatever way you want to think about success, have a very strong sense of purpose. This applies as much to their life as it does to each endeavour they engage in. When thinking and acting become detached from purpose, decision-making may suffer, and this will impact on you and the people you associate with.

2. Alignment transforms energy into effectiveness
Alignment here means the connection between Purpose, Identity, Values & Beliefs, Capability and Action. If you put energy into actions that violate your values or your sense of identity, then you are unlikely to be effective. When all these things are aligned your energy will flow naturally and be transformed into effective results for you.

3. Respect is the beginning of understanding
At school and university we consolidate learning into understanding through debate and discussion; supporting our ideas, often vehemently. To truly begin understanding, it is more useful to let go of our strongly held views, and develop a respect for other people and their ideas. In this way we not only understand better, we also lay the foundation for improved learning, sharing and influencing.

4. Curiosity is the beginning of all difference
Having developed respect, we can now start to become curious. Having a thirst for knowledge is one thing, but if that thirst contains prejudice or is seeking certain answers, it is unlikely to lead to behavioural change. Pure curiosity wants to discover things that are outside of our current ways of thinking about the world, and in this way we can create difference for ourselves and life becomes richer as a result.

5. Flexibility is the beginning of freedom
When we come across other people who have ways of thinking and acting that are different from our own, we have a choice; we can ignore the difference and keep well within our own tried and tested grooves; we can pretend to go along with it on the surface; or we can work with it and find ways in which it can make us a richer person. The more flexible we are to accept the world as it is and develop respectful and subtle ways of influencing, the less we will be tied to the chains of our personal, small, perfect world.

6. Education is the key to releasing potential
To 'educe' is to evolve or develop potential. This implies that answers lie within. When you approach others with this principle in mind you will be recognized as someone who has conquered their ego, rather than someone who wants to tell people how they have tamed the world. By developing the skills of coaching it is possible to draw the best from people whilst respecting their needs. The opposite of this is to 'pour in' your own ideas and attitudes like a petrol pump, but when the tank is full it can hold no more; and when the tank is empty it must return to be re-filled.

7. None of us is as smart as all of us
To push your own ideas as 'the best solution' even when you are the most experienced, is to ignore the creativity and insight that comes from collective input. An idea or solution in isolation may remain an island where few people want to visit.

8. Be thorough and unrelenting with issues
To notice something that is incongruent with the environment and ignore it is like finding a mine and leaving it covered up. Sooner or later it will explode and there will be casualties. A dangerous action or a violated value has power to maim physically, mentally and emotionally. Are you going to let it pass, or deal with it?

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We are business people with many years experience in senior management and entrepreneurial positions. We have trained, coached and developed hundreds of managers and directors to greater success. We are authors of several international best selling books on personal development, and often present at major events around the world.

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