3 Simple Steps to Increase Team Resilience
“An organization without purpose manages human resources, whereas an organization with purpose mobilizes people.” – Juan Carlos Eichholz
Resilience Starts With Alignment
Any healthy organization is formed with a specific purpose in mind. That purpose is usually defined by the organizational mission, vision, and values. However, over time an organization’s purpose can get clouded by mergers, acquisitions, or changes in the competitive landscape.
Without alignment to purpose, an organization’s mission, vision, and values can become little more than a poster on a conference room wall. Lack of alignment becomes undeniably apparent when disruption hits, difficult decisions need to be made, and people are not on the same page.
Imagine if your team knew exactly what to do and who will be accountable for what when disruption hit. Most importantly, what if your team knew exactly what to do when you (or the leader) was not around. No debate. No waiting around for approvals. No confusion. No risking the wrong decision. Just forward momentum toward your purpose.
This is possible when teams are fully aligned around a shared purpose. A “cause” or a “why”, perhaps. Here are three steps to empower your organization to create alignment. This is worth doing because it increases both individual and organizational resilience and results in better decision-making.
And, it’s not that difficult. We do it in a day.
3 Steps To Increase Resilience
1. Know Your Purpose
The degree to which our teams are clear on the purpose and mission of the organization fundamentally impacts their ability to fulfill that purpose. This is not about memorizing a hollow statement or publishing glossy graphics. Alignment is about every team member being able to articulate, in their own words, what a successful outcome looks like, the priorities required, and the role they play in delivering that. When disruption hits and we need all the reserves we can harness to deal with rapid change, energy expended on debating about the goal actually reduces our ability to achieve it. It’s that simple.
Knowing our purpose enables us to switch gears in mid-flight. It empowers teams to focus on results when even a well-crafted plan didn’t work.
2. Define What Success Looks Like
Having a clear definition of success works the same way. Begin with the end in mind. Anyone who has negotiated with a union or a works council knows you don’t enter that situation without a goal and a plan in mind. Imagine the power of thinking through the decisions we’ll be called to make in difficult situations, before we enter them, from a purpose-driven, success-delineated perspective.
3. Be Honest About Your Core Beliefs
Core beliefs are the foundational element on which all else rests. It is difficult, even for individuals, to stand up when they are not clear about what they stand on and in an organization, everyone needs to be on the same page with what the organization stands for.
In organizations, core beliefs are often called values or principles. No matter their name, the important thing is how they are created and what they reflect. This has a lot to do with how they were created and who created them. Doing this collaboratively is absolutely necessary to create alignment.
Espoused values or principles are the ones we say we have. Most organizations have an artifact on a wall somewhere that says they value excellence, integrity, teamwork, etc. As a general rule, few people pay attention to the list because they sound good but may or may not reflect what really happens day to day.
An organization’s real core beliefs are the values people actually use. Those they see demonstrated – the ones people sitting in meetings rely on when it’s time to make difficult decisions.
To contribute to resilience, organizational core beliefs cannot simply hang on a wall, they MUST be used in real life; in the heat of the moment when it matters most. We can operate and make decisions with confidence when every member of the team is being guided by the same core beliefs.
A clear purpose, definition of success, and organizational core beliefs help teams save time and energy by reducing debate and moving the organization forward. They operate like the GPS on a cell phone, calling out clear step-by-step instructions. When there is alignment around these three cornerstones, they are ever-present, directing us to the desired destination.