Most successful leaders and managers will tell you the most difficult, yet highest pay-off task, is getting people to work together positively and productively.
Our favorite expert on organizational health and teamwork, Patrick Lencioni, has spent years studying how a company’s employees, especially its managers, work together. According to Lencioni, one fundamental tenet for cultivating a healthy organization is to create clarity.
To create clarity, leadership team members must all commit to the same answers to six key questions. The goal is to create so much concrete clarity and agreement that it leaves little room for ambiguity, confusion and infighting.
Many of us tend to chalk up a lack of clarity and collaboration to behaviors and attitudes. It’s easy to dismiss disorder as people simply not wanting to work together. In reality, these problems are often rooted in the lack of alignment among leaders.
“Agreeing to disagree” is a common coping mechanism, but it creates an unresolved environment that is at risk for bloody, unwinnable department conflicts.
So how can you avoid these civil wars? Lencioni says leaders and managers should agree on the answers to these six key questions to eliminate discrepancies in thinking:
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed?
- What is most important–right now?
- Who must do what?
When these answers are articulated and agreed upon, it’s easier for people to not just comply, but commit.
Lencioni emphasizes another important point: answering these questions is not a marketing exercise for creating billboards, annual reports, or taglines.
Clarity is meant for easy consumption, conversation, and everyday use.
Have a great week.
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