I work with a multi-national retail organization that has been facing incredible challenges as the entire industry is navigating a digital transformation. However, their people are tremendously passionate, creative and inspiring. You can feel it when you walk into their lobby.
They weren’t always that way. Steeped in silos, old products, and a workforce whose “wait-to-be-told” attitude fostered an environment void of creativity and full of waste. Their transformation reflects the incredible commitment of their executive team on many levels. When the executive team meets, their agenda is based on their review of the scorecard. They are so committed to their shared priorities that I could run into a team member at the coffee shop on Saturday morning and ask how the company is doing and this is what they would say: “We are so excited to be breaking into the AMEA market faster than expected! Finances are strong. Product quality is improved and development is exciting. Sales are better; marketing and market differentiation is our biggest challenge right now. Our people are engaged and productive. Customers are happy.” They talk about this stuff every week.
This shows me something that is critical to performance: they have clarity about what is most important right now—one of the six most critical questions for a team to be aligned on. I know things are off when I check in with team members and they tell me all about their department and when I ask about another department, they say, “I don’t know, you should probably ask their leader.”
We wonder why employees feel more concerned with their own interests than the interest of the whole company. It is not the employee’s fault, they are just mirroring the behaviors modeled to them. Team meetings feel like group 1:1 sessions with the leader.
Establish a team scorecard based on a single, qualitative, short-term priority that all team members have shared concern for. Focus your team meetings on the 3-5 objectives it will take to achieve that priority. Silos exist because we don’t give team members a framework to think collectively.