Give Your Team Alignment The Chance Of A Test

Several years ago, I started working with a leadership team that had always prepped their yearly strategic plan in silos, figuring the divide-and-conquer method was the most efficient way to get the thing put together.

They’d meet once to kick off the work, then start playing what I call “PowerPoint ping-pong” via email until it was, at least nominally, “done”. I probably don’t need to mention that the results weren’t wildly successful.

When I started working with them, I had them test their strategic narrative as soon as possible. At first, we built it in the form of a prototype presentation, not yet fully developed.

In one meeting, the head of marketing mentioned that she was basing her entire plan on a new product feature being ready at a specific date.

There was a moment of silence, and then the engineering guy asked, “what feature are you talking about?”.

It turned out his team hadn’t even started development on the product yet. So there was absolutely no way they were going to make marketing’s date.

You can imagine that the agenda for that meeting got scrapped pretty quickly, but for a good cause.

When the panic died down, the team was thankful that I had brought them into the same room to talk with a level of clarity and detail that they hadn’t experienced before. This was something they were not expecting out of such a strategic narrative exercise.

This team ended up with a powerful strategic narrative, not just because it turned their audience into participants but because this leadership team was more aligned behind their strategy than ever.

Now, think about your company. Are there opportunities that could test your team alignment similarly?

What value would this have?

Probably hard to say exactly, but probably a “little” more than a PowerPoint presentation.

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