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VUCA Coaching for Alignment: 4 Go-To Questions

Author: Bill Taylor

Published April 2020

Bill Taylor – US Consultant

Bill Taylor is a Senior Consultant, Master Facilitator and Executive Coach with the Mentor Group working across many industry segments. After a successful C-Suite Executive Leadership role as a Community Business Banker, he moved into the greater management, B2B sales and business consulting industry. He aspires to serve everyone he meets helping them unleash their talent and transformation where they live, work, play and serve.  Bill has worked with Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning (part of Harvard Business School), Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), (John) Kotter International, Huthwaite and DDI (Development Dimensions International).

VUCA!  “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous x 100!”  Yikes!

Coach, coach, and coach again…

Since my last blog, we are continuing to experience and redefine new levels of high-velocity, high-compression disruption. The pressure is relentless from inside and outside our organizations.   Although I am dating myself, The Rolling Stones called it “…being born into a cross-fire hurricane…!”  That about says it all.

 

Therefore, how are leaders to respond effectively in such remarkable and unprecedented times?  The answer is “to coach, coach and coach again for alignment, clarity and accountability.”  Time for VUCA Coaching for Alignment.

 

Regardless of whether you are leading sales teams, support function teams, matrixed-virtual teams, intact-work teams, etc. there is a constant need to re-visit the critical areas of alignment, clarity, roles/responsibilities, measurement and, ultimately create a culture of accountability.

 

As a performance consultant and Executive Coach, I have worked with a large number of Senior Leaders and their teams over the past 30 years.  When they ask how to optimize performance, I typically ask them to assess the level of alignment, clarity and accountability of their teams.  When they answer, “what do you mean by the question?” … the alignment-gap is evident!

Four Go-to questions…

My Call to Action has been for them, and now all of you reading this, to “put on your consulting hat”, interview your teams and ask these Four Go-To Questions. (Or, of course, they and you, can hire me to do the interviewing and report back!) 

 

Four Go-To Questions to optimize alignment, clarity, roles/responsibilities and performance metrics:

  1. What is the charter or purpose and strategic business objectives of this team?
  2. Describe your role and responsibilities to support that purpose and objectives.
  3. What are your metrics for success and how are you measured to ensure accountability?
  4. How does your role and the business objectives of this team support the organization’s Vision, Mission/Purpose and Values?

1. What is the charter or purpose and strategic business objectives of this team?

Do you have a Team Charter and Governance Model?  Or, when was the last time you refreshed it along with Team metrics, business objectives and governance?

 

Alignment Check:  I recently worked with a senior sales team that identified 13 strategic objectives.  When I shared the summary with the Leader he practically fell out of his chair.  He said, “There are 4 strategic objectives! How could they be that confused and out of alignment?”  Time for VUCA Coaching for Alignment.

2. Describe your role and responsibilities to support that purpose and objectives.

This question often is a bit easier to unpack; but, be ready to find out that folks are “coloring way outside the lines” of their specific role and key responsibilities.

 

Excellent opportunity to align their Job Description and Performance Plan in these changing times.

 

Provide extra focus while on-boarding new team members who are caught in the VUCA-vortex.

 

 

Alignment Check:  I believe that every time a team member leaves or a new member joins a team – “you have a new team!”  Therefore, it is critical to re-calibrate how work is being distributed.  Don’t assume everyone fully understands what their Roles & Responsibilities are.  Time for VUCA Coaching for Alignment.

3. What are your metrics for success and how are you measured to ensure accountability?

Similar to #2, it is vital to ensure that everyone knows “how we are keeping score” for performance and accountability – both qualitative (behavioral) and quantitative (hard metrics).

 

Alignment Check:  It would be predictable that metrics, or dash-boards, are fluid and confusing in such a volatile time for almost every industry, organization and team.  Sales numbers are in jeopardy, manufacturing is crazy, through-put, time management, cycle-time to results, etc.  Time for VUCA Coaching for Alignment.

4. How does your role and the business objectives of this team support the organization’s Vision, Mission/Purpose, Values and Strategic Business Objectives?

This is the hardest question, but will create the elusive “one line of sight – alignment and accountability” from any role in the organization to the “top of the house”.

 

Alignment Check:  When individuals, teams, leaders, BU’s and organizations achieve “one line of sight” toward alignment, clarity and accountability – they create velocity, synergy and collaboration to realize their desired results.  Time for VUCA Coaching for Alignment!

In conclusion…

My encouragement is to immediately take action and ramp up your curiosity using these 4 Go-to Questions.  You are now equipped to immediately assess and realign your team’s purpose and importance, role clarity, dashboards and alignment to the organizations business objectives.

 

Get ready to be surprised, delighted, enlightened and encouraged to unleash your teams and organizational talent to perform at levels you might not have even imagined.  Time for VUCA Coaching for Alignment.