different hands on table

What is One-Team Alignment and Why Does it Matter

While Eastern culture places emphasis on teamwork and culture, Western culture values individualism. Employees are encouraged to be self-reliant, make decisions and be held accountable for their actions. And this isn’t a bad thing: It’s not about collectivism versus individualism. But when it comes to solving problems, we can learn from Eastern companies’ ways of collective thinking and changing as one–what we call one-team alignment

According to LSA Global research, companies with high organizational alignment grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable. One-team alignment happens when employees, departments and management work as a whole toward a common goal or mission. 

Why Solving Problems by Department Doesn’t Work

In the West, companies tend to be very hierarchical in departments. Each department deals with its own problems, and consequently, we create solutions and make changes by department. 

This is ineffective and inefficient. Here’s why:

First of all, you want to solve problems at their core. You have to review the timeline of a problem, not just what is happening at the present moment. All problems might only be due to one cause, so you don’t want to end up having eight teams working on the same problem. Chances are, having multiple teams trying to solve the same problem will only waste resources and result in short-term band-aid solutions.

Moreover, solving problems by department will only make processes disjointed and disparate. No one knows what other people are doing, which creates organizational silos. If this happens you might hear language such as: 

“I never knew this process was implemented.” “Since when did they (referring to another department) start doing this?” “Why wasn’t I aware that others were working on this too?”

Many leaders assume that lack of engagement or commitment is the reason why their employees fail to execute strategic objectives, but according to Integro Leadership Institute, in many cases, it’s the lack of one-team alignment. This results in team members not really knowing what they are doing and why they’re doing it, or simply not agreeing with each other.

How to Achieve One-Team Alignment

Build a culture where everyone has a voice.

When we talk about operations and processes, culture isn’t always part of the conversation. However, everything begins with culture. It guides how you and your people work, which then affects everything that happens in your company including your operations and processes.

If you want all of your employees to work together in achieving company goals and see the larger vision/goal, they must first understand their role in the company’s success. Creating a culture where every team member feels that their opinion matters will pay off in the long run for your people and your company. 

Toyota has an engine to do process improvement. The company gets over a million ideas a year from everyone in the company. They also have a system to implement the good ideas they receive from their employees, which makes people feel seen and heard when they contribute. 

Building a process-based culture where everyone—regardless of their position in the company—can have their ideas turned into action completely transforms the perspective of the company. This is what your employees are yearning for: They want to see that what they do makes an impact on the entire organization.

Create incremental changes across the whole organization.

Instead of operating and creating initiatives by department, strive for company-wide change. This way no one is left behind, and everybody is on board and going in the same direction. Remember: when working on process improvement, focus on small changes across the organization. Your process improvement initiatives should have a 30-day lead time so it’s achievable and so your people don’t lose their morale.  

Small incremental improvement keeps the momentum going for your people and your company. People are motivated to work when they can see their progress. These small changes over time will create a snowball effect, and it’s the power of all these small changes together that make a large difference.

In love and respect,

Hilary Corna

Hilary Corna

Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Founder of the Human Way ™...

Hilary’s favorite title is HUMAN.


Leave a Reply

I am starting a revolution. One business and one person at a time.



When was the last time your inbox inspired you? Sign up today!

Thank you for subscribing!