(615) 656-0465 mark@markskenny.com
Each week, I read articles and listen to podcasts from various resources on how to build a functional, collaborative, and aligned team. Here are my top five picks from last week. I have added my comment about each article.

Is Your Company as Strategically Aligned as You Think It Is? by Harvard Business Review 

Article’s Summary: Building strategic alignment across an organization is always challenging, but a large gap between actual and perceived alignment makes it that much harder to get on the same page and implement a strategy effectively. In this piece, the authors share insights from a recent analysis of more than 500 employees, which found that actual strategic alignment among employees, managers, and executives was two to three times lower than perceived alignment. In other words, in many organizations, people think that everyone is aligned on what the strategy is, but in reality, different people have widely different understandings. To bridge this gap and foster true strategic alignment, the authors suggest that leaders must focus their strategies on driving customer value; weave those strategies into everyone’s daily work; and develop strategic priorities not in a vacuum, but through collaborative dialogue with senior executives, middle managers, and frontline employees.

My Comments: This is an excellent article highlighting a key problem across organizations: leaders think the organization is aligned but most are not. This is also why I do what I do. 🙂

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The people closest to the work know the most about it by Joe Scarlett

Article’s Summary: Those of us in leadership roles often think that we have the answers to so many of the problems our organizations face. Yet, in my experience, most solutions come from those actually doing the work.

My Comments: Anything from Joe Scarlett is going to be great. And the title speaks for itself.

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Honoring the “I” in Team: The Paradoxical Key to Strong Organizations by Amir Ghannad

Article’s Summary: “I believe the role of a leader is to create an environment in which each member of the team—each “I” that the team actually comprises—is inspired to collaborate toward achieving the team’s objectives.”

My Comments: This is a really good perspective on the importance of remembering that teams are made up of individual people.

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10 Important Conversations to Have When Building a High-Performing Team by Lolly Daskal

Article’s Summary: “It’s important for leaders to communicate with their teams in order to build and develop high-performing teams. By regularly having open and honest communication with team members, leaders can better understand their needs, provide support, and address any issues or challenges that may arise.”

My Comments: Conversations are the key to improving the team experience and the team’s effectiveness. This article provides some good questions to invoke good conversation with your team.

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Don’t Let Distractions Derail Your Company’s Strategy by Harvard Business Review

Article’s Summary: An openness to experimenting, learning, and adapting is an essential characteristic of an effective strategy process. However, it’s easy to get distracted by both external and internal developments and opportunities. Leaders should avoid the temptation to micromanage and assert control to mitigate this risk. Instead, they should strengthen their strategic intent, improve individuals’ connections with the strategy, and encourage better discipline, channeling energies into more productive innovation activities.

My Comments: Distractions are momentum and engagement killers. Often times, they are indicative of a leadership team that has not decided on what is actually important and how the organization will succeed. Not decided means either they haven’t taken the time to decide or they haven’t actually committed to what they said they decided.

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