The alignment meeting

Remember that old adage that to assume makes an ass out of you and me? That’s cute but in startups, assumptions derail initiatives and kill momentum. Nothing cute about that.

I’ve been in so many companies, run so many programs or initiatives and still I am baffled by the lack of the simplest of thing — the alignment meeting.

You can have the perfect launch playbook, have everyone responsible for its success sitting in the same room, take questions, get heads nodding, FEEL aligned, send everyone out to get the job done and then be completely gobsmacked when the wheels fall off.

People hear things at different decibels.

THAT’S why the alignment meeting is so necessary. I can’t believe I’m even writing about this simple, yet often overlooked step.

Pick a number of days into the initiative to have a quick regroup with the same team as on launch. If whatever the thing is lasts a month, regroup a week into it for example.

Structure the meeting in these 3 sections:

  1. What is each person currently doing FOR the initiative. Ask for specifics (i.e. I’ve adjusted our email flows to incorporate this, or Every time I call a customer I mention it)
  2. Ask for feedback on how [target] is reacting/responding/converting. What are your customers saying?
  3. Ask what else can be done to boost/augment this initiative. What are we NOT doing that we should be doing?

These 3 questions will give you a sense as to what is actually happening (of course) but also how everyone interprets their part in this initiative. You’d be surprised at how different the launch conversation was interpreted by each person.

The last thing is to schedule a quick follow-up huddle 3 days after this meeting to get an update. This will tell you if you are on the track or not and if there is complete buy-in.

This small, simple step will make sure you aren’t wasting the initiative. There is NOTHING worse than sitting back in a post mortem and hearing “I didn’t know” or ” we should have done this” or “I didn’t realize it was that important.”