What to do when you can’t agree on business goals
In order for a business to run smoothly, your leadership team needs to have clear alignment on business goals. If leadership can’t agree on business goals, employees won’t have appropriate direction and productivity will come to a halt.
Disagreeing on where to go and how to get there is common. While it can be frustrating, it’s a challenge that can be overcome with mutual understanding, respect, communication and a whole lot of teamwork.
1. Define your organization’s core values
Running a business is not a small task. A lot of people expect you to have answers to a lot of questions. The best way to get your leadership team aligned on what those answers are is for you to agree on your core values.
What are core values?
Core values are a representation of what your company stands for. They represent the “why” behind every decision. An example of a company’s core values might be:
- We think outside of the box
- We work as a team
- We are honest
You’ll notice none of these values are “We want to make money” or “We want to be the best in our field.” It’s okay for one of your goals to be increased ROI—you’re a business, after all! But before you set any revenue-related goals, you need to step back and ask yourself “Why does this matter to us?” Don’t be afraid to dig deep and have some tough conversations. That’s where real progress is made.
2. Revisit your original goal
There was likely something that brought you and your business partner(s) together when you first started. Revisiting the original business plan can help you assess whether you’re still on the same page.
You also might discover your goals have changed since you first started working together. If both of you have started veering in a different direction, talk about it. This is a great opportunity to realign and discuss getting back on track or changing directions completely. The most important thing is to be honest with each other about what you’re both working toward.
3. Discuss short-term goals
Once you align on long-term business goals, it’s time to look at the details. You know where you’re going, but how do you want to get there? The cool thing about this step is there’s room for a lot of discussion.
When discussing what steps you should take to achieve your goal, ask yourselves:
- Who will be responsible for this?
- What are alternatives to this plan?
- How will this get us to our goal?
- Why are we doing it this way?
- When do we expect to see results?
Once you start looking at the same goal from a more granular perspective, it will be easier to see where you’re going.
4. Utilize each of your strengths
We’ve talked about the importance of hiring the right people for the right position, but that goes for leadership too! Teams work best when complementary strengths are effectively utilized. Some disagreement is okay during goal-setting (especially when it comes to the “who does what?” step).
It takes various personality types in the workplace to get a job done. It can be easy to discount someone else’s idea just because it may not be what you had in mind. But resist this urge and remain open-minded—you may be surprised what kind of ground you can cover when utilizing other people’s strengths to find creative ways to win!
5. Trust each other
When you’re running a business, you may feel like there’s a lot at stake if you make a wrong decision. One of the best things about having a solid leadership team is the fact that you’re all in it together. Understanding that no one person has all the right answers is key to putting together a solid business plan. You all might make mistakes along the way. You’re human! Making mistakes is part of how you learn what works, and your team should have your back.
It’s important to trust the people you’re leading with. Even if you disagree on the best avenue to reach your goals, trusting the other people involved is an important step in more effectively leading your company.
6. Get other people involved
If you can’t seem to land on the same page, it’s time to crowdsource. While you and your leadership team know the ins and outs of your company better than anyone, pulling in other voices can be so beneficial to helping you find direction.
A great place to start would be asking your own employees what they think. The decisions you make affect your team as much as they affect you, so getting their perspective can help you further align on the best strategy to move your business forward.
- Gina Richard