Updated: Apr 2, 2019
This month we're delighted to publish a guest blog from Roly Walter, founder of Appraisd, a flexible and intuitive tool that enhances your performance culture.
Shared objectives can bring teams together and be the catalyst for greater creativity.
Leicester City pulled off the biggest shock in English football history when they won the Premier League in 2016. The team were 5,000/1 to win the title at the start of the season and no one gave them a chance of doing anything special. Even former player and avid fan Gary Lineker had so little faith that they could actually do it, he was confident enough to say he’d present Match of the Day in his underpants if they were champions.
So, how did they beat the odds? While there was undoubted talent in the team, the general consensus is they triumphed by having a unique team spirit, created by sharing one clear objective that everyone believed in. The whole squad and the coaching staff pulled together to make the unthinkable a reality.
As businesses grow and more layers of management get added into the organisation, they often struggle to keep the focus tight and the sense of a shared goal alive. Other factors come into the picture to disrupt this clarity of vision. There is often a disconnect between what senior managers and employees think. If not addressed this gulf can widen and become a case of “them and us”, no longer seeing themselves as one organisation, with the company strategy becoming remote and irrelevant to employees.
Senior managers often overestimate how engaged employees really are. A report by PWC found that 62% view their relationship with their employees as a “committed partnership”, while significantly less than half of employees agree with this statement. This report also showed almost two thirds of employees feel unappreciated and undervalued.
Introducing shared objectives can change this situation. By giving everyone in a team a common objective, each person suddenly has an increased importance. It now matters much more that everyone understands what they are working towards and that they have the right tools and support to play their part. Everyone in the team has more value and the importance of their work is amplified. Achieving a team objective has the power to motivate numerous people across the business and ensures everyone is pulling in the same direction.
"One of the main drivers for us to introduce the V2MOM approach which is based on shared objectives was to make employees more aligned to the overall company strategy", says Aimee Swartz, Learning Lead – Design and Technology for multinational computer software organisation Exact. "The old annual appraisal process wasn’t working effectively, and employees felt disconnected from their objectives. They saw them as remote and not entirely relevant to their day to day jobs. With our new approach, their V2MOMs are at the very heart of what they do, providing greater clarity of focus and opportunities to share ideas across the business."
Feeling part of a team can be incredibly important. Humans are social creatures and we need to feel connected to others. Britain has been dubbed the loneliness capital of Europe, with the problem being particularly acute in those aged 18 to 34. With many more employees now working remotely or hot desking in offices, there are fewer opportunities to build friendships in the workplace. Bringing teams together with shared objectives creates a bond that binds the members of that team together, no matter where they are working, creating that much needed feeling of belonging.
Having shared objectives ensures that no member of the team gets left behind. If someone is struggling, the other members of the team are more likely to rally round and give them the support they need to get things back on track. If one falls, then everyone feels the consequences. It is this added incentive to look out for colleagues that can bring colleagues together, pushing the whole group to perform at a higher standard.
More companies are recognising that a sense of belonging can significantly boost performance. Studies have shown that if someone feels comfortable in an organisation it can even trigger responses in the brain that help foster better collaboration and problem solving. Creating an environment that supports this can be tricky, but introducing shared objectives is one part of the puzzle that can help make this happen. Aligning everyone to the same goals and recognising that each member has an important part to play to reach those objectives, can be extremely powerful.