Picture this: You’re playing in a basketball game. You have a great game and score lots of points—but unfortunately, your team still loses. You’re excited about your individual performance, but the fact is, the group lost.
Sure, we’re not all basketball players. But we are all part of important teams in our lives: family, friend groups, and so on. And while individual goals are certainly important, what’s more important is how achieving those goals contributes to the group’s success. Let’s talk about how you can align your team and individual goals to create an environment where everyone wins.
Get on the same page.
It’s hard to get everyone going in the same direction when the direction itself isn’t clear. But if you focus on setting clear team goals ahead of time, people will have the chance to align their personal goals accordingly. Here are the two main steps to getting everyone on the right track:
- Brainstorm together. Get clear on the goal(s) that you want to accomplish as a group.
- Decide what individual goals need to be set in order to reach the team goal. (Example: If you and your spouse have a goal of buying a house, what do you need to accomplish individually to make that happen?)
Research shows that well-connected teams see a productivity increase of 20%-25%. And that includes clear communication on the goals that are important to you! Start thinking of your individual goals as a small piece of the big picture.
Be ready to adjust.
Life has a funny way of changing just when we think we’ve got a good flow going. But what do we do when life switches directions? We pivot—and goals are no different! Success may look entirely different in the end than it does at the beginning. So, if team goals are changing, be ready to adjust your individual goals as well!
For example, let’s say you’re working on a project. All of a sudden, the team goal changes and your project needs to go in a completely different direction. Is that a bit frustrating? Probably. But does it mean you should be stubborn and continue without adjustments, even though the team needs something different from you? Nope! That’s like running a different play in your basketball game than the rest of the team just because you think your way is better. And that’s not productive for anyone. Be flexible!
Work as a team.
A team means that you have a built-in group of people who are there to support, push, and celebrate you (and you get to do the same for them!). That’s pretty awesome, if you ask us! And while you’re all working toward those individual goals, focus on being a team player, above all.
The Team-Player Checklist:
- Welcome collaboration and ideas from others.
- Have a positive attitude.
- Be reliable and responsible.
- Learn to be a great listener.
You could sit in a corner and do your own thing. And chances are, by choosing to focus solely on your own goals, you’ll probably be pretty successful at achieving them. But that’s not what being on a team is all about. Make the decision to do your part to help everyone else move forward. Success comes easier when we all work together.
Ever feel like you’re pulling teeth trying to get people on the same page? That’s the unique challenge of dealing with humans—we’re all different. And for that reason, we’ve all got goals and priorities that may not be exactly the same as the person sitting next to us. Try out one (or all!) of our tips to get everyone running in the same direction.