That getting-everyone-on-the-same-page thing
Getting everyone on the same page is what leadership is all about. So, why is it that leaders often feel that team members are taking plays from the wrong playbook? And why is that team members often feel that their playbook is missing critical pages, or even worse, wish they were given a playbook before the game began? Clearly, that getting-everyone-on-the-same-page thing is more complicated and perplexing than most leaders realize.
Here’s the downside: When teams are NOT on the same page, things go wrong. Time, money and resources are wasted. Frustration builds and spreads throughout the team, and everything slows down. Mistakes are made. Quality takes a nosedive. Customer loyalty is compromised. Blame, finger pointing, justification and throwing people under the bus emerge as a new skill set. Yes, we have all lived what I just described - and most of us prefer never to live it again.
Here’s the upside: When teams ARE on the same page, things go right. Time, money and resources are maximized. Morale is high, and work moves along quickly and efficiently. Mistakes rarely occur because everyone is knowledgeable, committed and accountable to the processes, procedures and systems - so much so that innovation perpetuates constant improvement. Best of all, there no more buses around for people to be thrown under.
Here are some no-compromise strategies to get and keep everyone on the same page:
- Gotta have a page first: Stop talking about everyone getting on the same page if you don’t have a page for everyone to get on. Too many leaders set up themselves and their teams for failure simply because projects, expectations and outcomes were poorly - or never - defined. Creating the right outcomes and winning in business can only be achieved through a coordinated game plan that everyone understands. So, the next time you say, “We need to get on the same page,” I hope someone steps up and asks, “May I have a copy of that page?”
- Be committed to the process: Getting everyone on the same page begins at the top. The most frustrating aspect of coaching leaders is their propensity to not play the same game they want everyone else to play. It’s impossible to get everyone in a company or department on the same page starting from the middle. That is a guaranteed recipe for frustration, drama and company dysfunction. It must start at the top.
- Read from the same page every day: “Hey, let’s have a meeting so we can all get on the same page.” Just like getting and staying physically fit takes working out and eating well every day, so does getting on the same page. One meeting is nothing more than the locker room speech before the game. Then it’s charging out on the field with playbook in hand. It’s huddling before every play. It’s about execution and achieving excellence. If you can accomplish that in one meeting, I want to write a book about you being the greatest leader in the history of business.
OK, here’s the secret sequence to getting everyone on the same page. Vision and desired outcomes first. Mission plan and playbook second. Communicate with absolute clarity third. Daily, weekly and monthly information flow fourth. Accountability and commitment throughout the company is a constant. No compromise rules.
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Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO
About: Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and award-winning author. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at [email protected].