Are you struggling to get your team on the same page? Do you feel like each department operates in its own silo or echo chamber? Do you want to bring everyone together to establish a more cohesive culture?
Well, you’re going to need a plan. And in this article, we’ll walk you through some specific best practices and techniques that are proven to bring teams into alignment for greater proficiency, productivity, and output.
The Benefits of Being on the Same Page
Jared Weitz is the founder and CEO of a business financing company. And over the years, he’s been through his fair share of ups and downs. He’s had to navigate complex challenges and juggle plenty of management and leadership challenges. And do you know what he points to as the one common trait among growing small businesses? A strong sense of unity.
“I believe that getting your whole team on the same page is more vital to growth than any perk in existence,” Weitz writes. “When your company reaches this state, the path to success becomes infinitely clearer.” Getting on the same page is important for a few reasons, including Loyalty.
When a team is on the same page, there’s total transparency. And one of the natural byproducts of transparency is loyalty. Because everything is out in the open, there’s a strong foundation of trust and respect. Team members feel connected to one another (as well as their superiors), which makes them less fearful to admit struggles or ask for help.
It breeds a culture of connectedness. Productivity. With everyone on the same page, there are fewer mistakes and oversights. Tasks get handed off from one person to the next with little-to-no delay. This speeds up efficiency and leads to greater productivity and output.
Autonomy. Micromanagement is a common complaint in most small businesses. But when your team is on the same page, you don’t have to worry about constantly peering over your shoulders to ensure work is being done. Instead, you trust that it’ll get done (and that someone else will call that person out if it isn’t done in full or on time).
The benefits are clear. When your team is on the same page, everything unfolds at a much smoother pace. And though it won’t always be perfect, you can rest assured a cohesive team will always outperform a disheveled group that has dozens of people who are each trying to do their own thing.
4 Ways to Get Your Team on the Same Page
The why of getting your team on the same page is clear. Now the question is, how do you do it? Here are a few simple tips and strategies that successful small businesses swear by:
1. Improve Collaboration
Regular and frequent communication is a must. More specifically, you need team members to prioritize healthy collaboration. Here’s how you do this:
Set clear goals. Employees are much more likely to engage one another and prioritize good communication if they have a clear understanding of their individual and shared goals. That means good collaboration starts with specific and measurable goals.
Have the right tools. It’s imperative that you have the right tools in place to allow for smooth and effortless collaboration. You’ll have to be intentional and tactful in how you build out your tool stack, but we recommend utilizing cloud tools so that they can be accessed from any device, anywhere.
Create clear handoffs. Good collaboration should reduce waiting and eliminate surprises. In other words, there should be clear handoffs so that each person knows precisely what to do once their steps are complete.
At the end of the day, improving collaboration is all about destroying silos and replacing them with a flat organizational structure that prioritizes cross-departmental communication and engagement.
2. Streamline Processes
When you have a small team of three or four people, it’s easy to take things as they come. But as your team grows, this highly reactive approach no longer works. What you need is a set of streamlined processes that can be quickly and effortlessly executed when called for.
As you streamline processes, think about workflow. In fact, you might want to use a workflow tool that lets you identify people responsible for each task, assign deadlines, set priorities, and properly route projects through the pipeline. A good process enjoys a frictionless handoff from one team member to the next.
3. Implement Better Meeting Practices
Meetings are scheduled with the anticipation of getting people on the same page. Yet, they often end with people feeling more confused and overwhelmed. This is because of two overarching reasons:
First off, most businesses host too many meetings. These meetings clog up team members’ schedules and prevent them from doing the work they’re tasked with. Secondly, most meetings are inefficient.
If you want to be more productive and get your team on the same page, it starts with better meeting practices. This means: Never host a meeting with more than five people. (Ideally, keep it to three or fewer.)
Take better meeting notes and distribute them immediately so everyone understands their post-meeting action steps and takeaways. (The notes app from Box.com is an excellent tool for creating meeting notes, sharing ideas, and tracking status updates together.) Start meetings on time (even if other people haven’t shown up).
This will set a precedent where people prioritize showing up on time. Likewise, always respect the time of your attendees by ending on time. By streamlining meetings, you reduce confusion and leave more time for your team to execute the ideas presented and discussed.
4. Be Accessible
As the business owner, manager, or CEO, you have to be accessible at all times. Have an open door policy and encourage people to ask questions. Though it may be inconvenient at times, this level of accessibility helps address minor issues before they spiral into major problems.
Adding it All Up
It might seem like a small detail, but getting your team on the same page is one of the foundational pillars of sustainable small business growth. Act now to improve collaboration, streamline processes, reduce the number of meetings your team schedules, and improve organization across the board. An investment in these areas will generate a significant ROI every time.