Here’s one way to determine what a team’s priorities are: make certain everyone has too much to do; then, what doesn’t get done by the end of the day must not have been that important.
This is vague clarity: The certainty that maybe some of what is important will get done at all.
To avoid this misstep, we may be tempted to ask these “low calorie” leadership questions at the end of a meeting: Do you understand? (The fact that we have to ask this question reveals the trouble we’re in. What if the data they understand has nothing to do with what we need to understand to succeed?) Or, Do you have any questions? (You just put a lot of pressure on me not to look dumb. I think I’ll ask someone else off line…)
Try these alignment questions at the end of your next meeting to remove the vague and establish clarity:
1. Regarding the decision we just made, who will summarize what are our priority is?
2. In review, what’s our plan to execute?
3. And what did we establish are our top motivations for taking this action?
Of course, you could always rely on mind reading or other such methods to get a team aligned in their execution. (But why take the chance?)