Leaders collaboration with peers to ensure alignment across departments that need to work together
Setting goals and establishing priorities for one department relies on collaboration with another. Department or workgroup goals cannot be developed and prioritized in a bubble! It is essential to involve peer leaders to ensure alignment of goals across the organization. Additionally, the diversity of perspectives will enable for more accurate goals that are better able to accomplish the objectives. Priorities for one department may be in conflict with another department’s priorities unless leaders work collaboratively to ensure they are in sync.
Consider this example:
Jack is a production manager. In looking at the overall strategic goals of the organization, he sees that there is a desire to increase production of running shoes. His manager confirms this and tells him that leadership is looking for input as to where, in particular, production should increase. Jack talks with his staff about the goal to get their thoughts on which running shoes in particular should be part of the goal. His staff offers their suggestions based on what they see as the most popular running shoes. However, Jack knows he needs further input. He reaches out to his peers in marketing, distribution, and retail sales. They decide to have lunch together and discuss the goal. During the meeting, Jack provides his thoughts on which running shoes to increase production and explains the reasoning. He then asks for what his peers believe would be the right running shoes for increased production. Once he gets their thoughts, he tells them he’ll share that information with his manager in order to confirm. During this meeting he also asked what their goals were and how he could support those goals. Once all goals were confirmed, Jack suggested another meeting to collaborate in prioritizing those goals. This would be especially important since likely some of his peers’ goals would rely on his achieving some of his goals.
Regular meetings between peer leaders enables for discussing challenges and successes, collaborative problem solving as well as sharing vision, strategies and goals for departments. This may be a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly meeting, with timing dependent on what is happening within the organization. An organization that has much going on should prompt leaders to meet with their peers more frequently. In all likelihood the goals one leader has relies on participation or input from others outside of the leader’s department. The leader may need to coordinate with peer leaders to prioritize goals in order to ensure that all departments are working collaboratively and effectively toward meeting the goals of the organization as a whole. The risk of not doing so could have departments working at odds to reach goals, thereby potentially meaning goals are not achieved or are achieved with more effort than should be required.
What do you do to ensure alignment of your department or workgroup’s goals with the goals of your peers’ departments or workgroups in the organization?