4 ways to align teams on important projects

In business, many hands touch every project, from outside partners to a multitude of internal stakeholders. The biggest issue leaders and managers face is getting so many people and personalities, opinions and expectations aligned. Everyone wants to have a voice, and rarely do those voices agree. This causes inefficiency and frustration from the start that slows down projects and often leads to outcomes that not everyone feels good about.

This is not an impossible challenge. But it is a challenge that requires an important step that most companies don’t invest the time to take: getting teams aligned up front, before a project gets off the ground.

All of those unique opinions, biases and points of view matter, and if they are not heard, people tend to be less supportive, and can often become downright negative about the process and results. What we’ve found after a decade of research and team building, with countless companies and wildly diverse teams and projects is that many of those people who disagree with the way things need to be done actually have more in common than they know. While they may approach things in different ways, they are often working toward the same ends. But it takes a bit of effort and intentional listening to understand their real motivations, to find the commonalities in what they are saying and what they are hoping to see.

This is the work we do work at Intrinzic, working with companies across the country on business-critical projects from websites and strategic messaging to brand and culture building, and we’re happy to share a few insights that might help you get more alignment up front.

Listen for what they are not saying.

Don’t just ask team members what they want from the project, understand their true motivators and unique perspective on what the project means to them and their role. They could be driven by fear, frustration or aspiration, they could be motivated by expectations from a boss or team or department. They could be motivated by expectations that have been placed on them, or expectations they have placed on themselves. If you listen for the right things, you’ll be amazed at the common themes that emerge.

Understand their motivation.

Don’t just ask what they want from the project, ask about their personal ambitions in their role. What are they trying to accomplish, what are the expectations placed on them by their teams or leaders? What are their frustrations, and what are some of the roadblocks they face?

Document these themes and help team members see how their own perceptions and expectations have been captured, albeit from different perspectives. You find that people with contradictory points of view are often driven by many of the same things, or they are trying to achieve the same end. When they see a few common ideas that reflect in one way or another what they want to see, they become advocates instead of detractors.


It is incredibly difficult for people to articulate what’s in their minds. In fact, what most people are picturing is actually just a feeling, a sense of what they think they will like. It’s rarely a tangible, fully formed idea. To bring people together you need a catalyst, something tangible for people to see and react to. An inspiring vision of how everything could come together. This is where things start to make sense, especially when the inspiration is built from the common themes that got them excited in the first place.

These are just a few of the steps we take in getting teams aligned up front. If you’d like to learn more about Intrinzic’s process or see specific examples of our collaborations with clients, click the link below.