Waterfall or Faucet?

How do you think about creating alignment within your team?  Alignment is important because employees will tell you right away: When the team at the top is not aligned, everyone suffers.

What is suffering? In general, it’s the declining sense of hope that accelerates with frustration. People don’t get exhausted by working too long and too hard on things that are important and exciting. They burn out by solving the same problems over and over again. And by running into the same friction over and over again. It’s even worse when employees believe the Executive Team is aware of the friction and looks the other way.


We collected some data at the Good Leadership Breakfast that I want to share:

Is your team’s alignment during Covid: better, worse, or the same?

  • 50% say their team has maintained the same level of alignment during Covid. That’s good.
  • 22% said they got better – but 28% say their alignment has gotten worse. That’s almost 1/3 of teams with alignment getting worse, and that means a lot of suffering in organizations.

Last week I wrote about the three Success Habits of Duschene Drew, President of Minnesota Public Radio, uses to create and maintain alignment in his team. It’s important we think about team alignment as a waterfall that is always flowing, rather than a faucet that gets turned on and off. It’s a “process” rather than an “event”. The highest performing teams are constantly checking and re-checking agreement on priorities, measuring progress, and course-correcting to ensure they win together.




How often does your team schedule time, specifically to work on improving their cohesiveness and performance?

  1. Never: 18%
  2. Monthly: 36%
  3. Quarterly: 23%
  4. Annually: 2%
  5. As needed: 21%

The data here shows 59% meet at least once a quarter – that’s more of the waterfall approach. The 18% who never meet have the faucet shut “off,” and the 2% annual, and the 21% “when we think we need it” responses don’t turn the faucet on very often.

Assuming your team will perform to the goals for this year, what has the most value to you:

  1. Reaching the goals faster: 37%
  2. Reaching the goals cheaper: 21%
  3. Reaching the goals easier: 42%

Anyone can work longer and harder to hit their goals. But at what cost? When leaders say they want to hit their goals “easier” they are saying there are important things outside of work they want to pursue.


The first step is making sure your team is aligned – because when the team at the top is not aligned, everyone suffers. If you need help getting your team aligned, we’re here to help. Email Good Leadership.

Paul Batz

Paul Batz is CEO and Founder of Good Leadership Enterprises. He is an inspirational leadership coach, best selling author and professional speaker. His Good Leadership blog is recognized as one of the top leadership posts in America today.