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Creating Alignment With Your Team

team alignment success

Lack of team cohesiveness can affect various aspects of a business. But there is something service business owners can do to change that.

Have you ever looked at your employees and wondered, “Why are they a let down?”

Maybe when they first came on board, you had high hopes for what they could do in the company. But as time passes, you notice a drop in enthusiasm. And consequently, you may see a drop in performance level, too.

If you’ve ever felt that way, you’re not alone.

I think it’s a big problem for service business owners nowadays. Many find themselves asking why the people on their teams feel let down.

Why do they feel unhappy and why aren’t they performing to their fullest?

To answer these questions, you need to focus on three aspects of the employee experience. If you can get all these three factors into alignment, you’ll find that your team is stronger and happier for it.

teamwork, success, alignment

The Three Things You Need to Bring Into Alignment

It’s not enough to hire the best talent in your area or offer the best benefits. To really motivate your team, you need to align these three aspects:

#1 – Needs

Everybody has needs, whether they’re your employees or loved ones. 

Some simple needs could include things like food, water, and air. This is the first level of what people need. And these needs exist in every relationship type we have, whether we’re an employee or in a relationship.

For example, in a relationship, you may “need” respect from your partner.

You can incorporate this needs clarification as early as the interview process. Ask your prospective employee, “What do you need from me?”

From there you can create alignment and talk about what you need from them.

#2 – Wants

The next aspect you need to get into alignment is the wants. You want your employees to have a certain level of performance and professionalism. And they probably have their own wants from you as their employer.

Some examples of wants could include:

  • I want to make more money.
  • I want to move up in the company.
  • I want appreciation.
  • I want the opportunity to have more training.

So, how do you find out what your employees want?

The answer is simple: 

Ask them!

You can frame the question in tandem with the needs aspect, too. Just ask them “What do you need from me?” followed by “What do you want from me?”

Needs and wants may sound similar, but they’re not. When you ask someone what they need, you find out their hard lines. What is it that they absolutely need to have to be an employee or in a relationship with you?

On the other hand, the wants aspect is more optional than a need. Like, you need to pay the employees for the work that they do.

But they may want the potential to make more money. It isn’t necessary to cater to everybody’s wants, but it is helpful to understand them. It gives you insight into their motivations.

#3 – Desires

Finally, we come to the desires aspect of alignment. This is a higher level than the previous two aspects.

If you ask your employees what they desire, they may say things like, they want a bigger home. Or they desire to put their kids through college.

In the great scheme of things, you can think of it this way:

“I need this now.”

”I want this sooner.”

“I desire this over time.”

When you desire something, you’re willing to wait. But you do want to know that you’re working towards that goal in the end.

Your employees have those same desires.

They are willing to play the long game to get to their desires. They’re willing to wait much longer for their desires than the wants and the needs.

However, if you don’t know these desires, you miss out on what truly motivates your team to higher levels.

To put it in another way…

You have an employee who works 40 hours a week. He Needs to receive payment, in the form of a regular paycheck, for the work he does.

This employee also Wants the opportunity for more training, because more training means more money. As he earns more money, he works towards his end goal or Desire – to put his children through college.

Do you see how each aspect interconnects?

You need the full picture to develop true alignment.

In that example, if any of those aspects are out of alignment, chances are, that the employee would not be happy.

The Alignment Exercise

So, how do you create alignment in the workplace?

It all starts with a simple conversation.

 Or you can do this little exercise that goes like this:

First, present an employee with the three columns for their Needs, Wants, and Desires. Keep it simple. Just use a piece of paper with bullet points and ask the employee to write down a list of things for each column.

As you do this exercise, you’ll create clarity. When you have clarity, it leads to alignment. Ultimately when you have alignment, it creates accountability.

This is an excellent way to encourage feedback from your team. It also helps you to see if the team member aligns with your vision for the business.

Alignment Works Both Ways

Alignment is a fancy way of saying that everybody is on the same page in the relationship. As a service business owner, you need to know and understand the aspects of alignment for each team member. And not every employee will have the same answer.

As you work on understanding the different aspects of alignment, though, you can start developing a plan. When you develop a plan, it creates accountability in business, which can also lead to happier and better performing employees.

But remember, alignment works both ways.

One mistake I see many service business owners make is not making sure that their new employee aligns with their vision. 

You also have Needs, Wants, and Desires for your business. Make sure that you talk about them with your employees, so that they understand what you’re working towards, too.

Creating alignment isn’t an automatic process. But with a little work, you and your employees can understand each other a little more and begin working towards your common goals.

Now, I’ll leave you with a question…

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