how to prevent alignment problems on your team

If your office is like a lot of offices, you’re spending a lot of time right now setting goals for next year. And if you’re like a lot of offices, chances are good that those goals might be knocked aside next year when other projects, priorities, and metrics push their way in. But while sometimes it does make sense to set aside goals for new priorities, often when that happens it’s because team members and their managers are simply out of alignment with each other.

At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I talk about how to tell whether your team is out of alignment, and what to do about it if they are. You can read it here.

{ 11 comments… read them below }

  1. Bea W*

    Very timely! I was literally jotting down goal ideas before breaking for lunch. My manager is good at goal planning with the team so that our goals as submitted for the review process are aligned. Reading this I’m not so sure my boss and her boss are aligned or our team goals with our boss’ boss’ goals or those of the other groups that work closely with us. This gives me a lot to consider when making my list. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish for my team but they may not all align well with the Spout Designers’ goals or the goals of the Department of Chocolately Goodness. The teapot industry has a lot of interdependant parts.

    I had one manager who assigned everyone their goals, and of all the years I’ve been employed those were the ones where attaining my assigned goals was nearly impossible, mostly because they were unrealistic and some because of them being knocked aside for other priorities.

  2. RVA Cat*

    I can’t be the only nerd who saw this headline and thought it was about dealing with co-workers who are Chaotic Evil?

  3. Mockingjay*

    Misalignment describes my company environment very well. Our management is offsite in another state. They focus on corporate strategies and plans to enhance and build the company. Meanwhile, we who are onsite with the defense client agency focus on fulfilling the client’s expectations.

    We have to write two SMART career goals each January. Not surprisingly, my goals reflect development in the direction of the client agency. Manager and HR want to see goals reflecting their vision, but they don’t communicate what they are working toward. The draft goals are volleyed back and forth until we reach some semblance of consensus, resulting in a lame goal easily met (“I will complete an online course within 6 months.”).

    I think this year, I will email my offsite manager and ask for preliminary direction. “Fred, while I’m drafting these goals, are is there something specific you would like me to work towards?” Or, “Here’s what I propose for the coming year – does that line up with company expectations?” Hopefully I will get a clear response.

  4. MR*

    My final year working at a mega-defense contractor that also happens to build commercial airplanes, had me develop yearly goals based on whatever nonsense the director was spouting. They even had a handy power point to do this.

    The problem was, that they didn’t communicate that they wanted everyone’s goals to exactly match what was on that power point. A bunch of us nearly got ‘written up’ because we didn’t copy-and-paste those goals exactly – even though those goals had nothing to do with the actual job I was being paid to do.

    It was long past the point to leave the company at that point and only a few months later, I left and never looked back.

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