Team Alignment and Culture Program

Is Your Team Really Aligned?

Do you know whether you have true team alignment or just passive compliance? On the surface, passive compliance has the look and feel of courteous agreement between people--people are nodding their heads, dissent is not obvious, and there is talk about next steps. Everything is fine…right?

A week later, deadlines are being pushed (for no obvious reason); you are getting copied on communications between players that reveal discord and conflict.   Time to call another meeting?

Most companies have been getting less than optimal productivity for so long, it seems normal to them. If you have been living in a “Default Culture” instead of an “Intentional Culture,” you’ll know it by these symptoms:

  • Poor or failed execution
  • Lack of clarity about priorities
  • Low morale
  • Absence of healthy debate
  • Lack of ownership or follow-through
  • “Us vs. them” thinking
  • Lack of candor
  • Unnecessary drama

Study after study has shown that company culture
is usually to blame for ALL these problems.

Default Culture has two areas of disconnect:

  • The “engagement problem”
  • The “alignment problem"
  • The Engagement Problem

A recent poll indicates that the majority of the U.S. workforce is “checked out,” essentially sleepwalking through their day. They put in time but put no energy or passion into their work. Call this state “not engaged.” If you represent the whole workforce with 10 people the poll indicates that 5 would be not engaged, 3 would be engaged, and 2 would be actively disengaged. Those actively disengaged are acting out their unhappiness, busying themselves with undermining their co-workers’ accomplishments. Only 3 out of 10 work with passion and feel a connection to their company’s purpose and mission through innovation. There are 12 factors involved in this lack of engagement:

  1. They don’t know what is expected of them.
  2. They don’t believe they have the materials or equipment they need to do their work.
  3. They don’t believe they have the opportunity to do what they do best.
  4. They rarely receive recognition for good work.
  5. They don’t feel that anyone at work cares about them as a person.
  6. They don’t feel that anyone at work encourages their development.
  7. They don’t think their opinion matters at work.
  8. The company mission does not make them feel that their job is important.
  9. They don’t think their fellow employees are committed to doing a good job.
  10. They don’t have a good friend at work.
  11. They don’t talk to people at work about their own progress.
  12. They don’t believe they have opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Fully 77% of the workforce agrees to some extent with these disengagement statements.

  • The Alignment Problem

The best way to visualize alignment is to imagine a team of 10 people paddling in a canoe. Perfect alignment is:

  • Everyone pulling the oar at the same time
  • Everyone pulling in the same direction
  • Everyone pulling as hard as they can on every stroke

But if you represent the engagement problem indicated in the poll data above, in the analogy of this same canoe, you will have 3 oarsmen pulling together in the same direction as hard as they can, 5 oarsmen pulling together in the same direction with little or no effort, and 2 oarsmen pulling together in the opposite direction as hard as they can. The net effect is the same as if you had only 1 person trying to row the whole canoe by himself.

Yet, part of the Alignment Problem is that you can’t always tell who’s pulling hard and who isn’t, who’s pulling the right way, and who’s pulling in the opposite direction. Business is more complicated than canoeing. But even in a canoe it could be difficult to see an opposite direction paddler who keeps perfect time with the group (in the opposite way). And it would be almost impossible to tell who isn’t pulling hard on the oar unless you have some kind of real-time power meter on the oar.

So the Alignment Problem is difficult to see—but the symptoms it causes in the business are not.

The symptoms of bad alignment include all the ones cited above:

  • Poor or failed execution
  • Lack of clarity about priorities
  • Low morale

At What Cost?

What has been the financial, emotional, and intellectual cost to you (your team, your organization) by not identifying and tackling the real issues?

  • In Dollars – when your team doesn’t meet its target.
  • In Hours – people’s time spent spinning their wheels or solving the wrong problems.
  • In Energy – frustration and disappointment sap people’s energy and spirit.
  • In Creativity – great ideas that never see the light of day.

When the symptoms noted above are linked to poor business results, often management will have a sudden realization that “something is wrong.” This often leads companies to jump to a quick solution: “Hurry up and produce a result,” or “Hire a consultant,” or “Do a teambuilding session.” These knee-jerk responses lack an understanding of the root causes of the presenting issues. And though they indicate to everyone that “this problem is being handled” they usually fail and may even make matters worse. What is lacking here is an effective diagnosis that can then lead to a cure.

Would you ever do open-heart surgery
before doing an MRI?

This is why most of Next Level Culture’s interventions begin with an assessment process that produces an accurate “snapshot” of your current reality and provides a baseline for ongoing measurement of improvements.

We start by helping you get a clear picture of what is going on.

Using our own interview-based Team Alignment and Culture Realty Check, you will be able to pull the multiple perspectives together into a clear picture of the current state. This interview-based assessment gathers anonymous, confidential, 360-degree feedback and data on:

  • Business results
  • Systems and processes
  • Capabilities
  • Barriers and resources
  • Key business issues
  • Leadership strengths and weaknesses
  • Team dynamics
  • Root causes

We then synthesize the raw data and analyze it from a number of different perspectives (personal, interpersonal, systems, business performance) and generate a report that becomes the foundation for all our work going forward. Our goal is to take the dozens (or hundreds) of pages of raw data and distill that into a summary document with a bias for action.

With the summary document as a foundation, we help facilitate your team (department, organization) in a productive dialogue about the real issues and options for the future.

Click here to sign up for a free 30-minute Strategy Session.

Whether or not we end up working together, we can help
you clarify your outcomes and a path forward.

Our Proven Track Record

My colleagues and I have provided consulting, coaching and/or guidance to more than 15,000 people, 200 leadership teams on 6 continents, at over 100 of the best-known companies in the world including:

It has been three months since the Team Alignment Meeting and we are making strides in these areas: 1) Communication – People are actively looking for ways to leverage each other’s strengths. 2) Productivity – We look for solutions and accountability rather than finger pointing. 3) Moving Forward – We are actively reaching out to one another to work on key business tasks rather than avoiding conflict. I look forward to working with Next Level Culture in the future and strongly encourage other companies with similar challenges to give them a call today.

David E. Williams
CEO, Clinsys Clinical Research

Why Choose Us?

Others that offer this service have mastery in 1 or 2 areas; we have mastery in at least five.  We bring deep experience and knowledge in:

  • Experiential meeting design
  • Culture Design Consulting
  • Executive Coaching
  • Expert Facilitators
  • Dynamic trainers on a variety of leadership topics

Between us, we have over 50 years of experience designing, guiding, supporting, and facilitating corporate leadership summits that exceed expectations on all fronts.

Meet The Dream Team

The way you get a productivity improvement  of 500% - 1000% is by getting everyone rowing hard in the right direction.

You get the 5 that are scarcely rowing to step it up; you get the 2 that are rowing backwards to stop (if possible), turned around, and rowing hard the right way. And you keep the 3 top performers going.

The difference between low engagement and high engagement, poor alignment and excellent alignment, has been quantified. Over the course of 11 years, stock prices of companies with engaged and aligned workforces outperformed everyone else by a wide margin:

  • Revenue is higher by 310.8%
  • Workforce increases 683.3%
  • Stock prices are 1117.6%

Zemo and Simon exuded enthusiasm and honesty, and had the courage to call out unproductive patterns amongst us (including our CEO) which forced us to practice the new skills. ‘Thank you’ is not nearly enough. This was truly a great experience and program. No fluff and stuff--just good old-fashion straight talk.

VP Operations
Biotech Firm

Are you facing any of these situations?

Major Change Initiative

You wish to obtain broad ownership of a new direction (mission, purpose, or strategy) and there are differing views on how to plan or implement the change process.

Post Merger Integration

Your company has just acquired (or merged with) a company with different systems, processes, and culture. The merger team is composed of a variety of stakeholders from both heritage companies with sometimes divergent perspectives.

From Good To Great

You are a good team delivering solid results, curious about what it takes to be a great, high-performing team.

Large Capital Project

You are the project manager of a large capital project that will take more than 6 months to complete. True Alignment will be crucial for delivering on time and under-budget.

Joint Ventures

According to the Conference Board of New York, “Of Fortune 1000 Companies, the percent of profits generated by strategic alliances and other business collaborations has risen from less than 5% in 1985 to 25% in 2005.” Getting all critical issues on the table up front and aligning on a path forward with all stakeholders is crucial for the success of the venture.

Good Team Gone South

Somewhere along the way, relationships soured, and now it is affecting productivity.

If so, a Team Alignment and Culture Program might be exactly what you need.

Excellent tools and skill-sets provided. Will immediately impact my direct interactions with other members of the Executive Team.

F50 Energy Company

Click here to sign up for a free 30-minute Strategy Session.

Whether or not we end up working together, we can help
you clarify your outcomes and a path forward.


Contact: (805) 284-9122