The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Team Completely Aligned

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Team Completely Aligned

Seriously, the best leader in the world can’t build a successful business alone. They need good people to get the work done. Because a happy team is a more productive team. Successful businesses are made of people, and people make mistakes. Do your customers know what to expect from your product? Making more money is great, but transparency is just the right way to do business. Set expectations and let your team do the work Part of letting my team do the work is setting clear expectations. Or do you set the expectation and let your team do the work? We plan to do this by implementing a contest, posting 3 times per day, and following 250-300 related accounts per day.” Motivation requires more than just money Part of keeping your team aligned means making sure your team is motivated to do good work. It is about hiring the best people, getting them aligned with your business goals, and then giving them the tools they need to be successful.

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Over the past decade, I’ve built dozens of teams. Some of them, like the team at Kissmetrics, were very successful.

Some of them, like the team at Kissmetrics, were very successful.

Others, like the teams I built when I was just getting started, were not as successful.

In most cases, those failures were due to mistakes I made in hiring and managing the team.

There is a secret that most startup founders and business owners don’t realize:

A leader isn’t the person who creates a successful business — it’s the rest of the team.

Seriously, the best leader in the world can’t build a successful business alone.

They need good people to get the work done.

The late Steve Jobs said it best: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

I truly believe that building and growing a solid team is the most important part of creating any business.

Whether you want to build an SEO empire or sell Cuban sandwiches at your corner deli, the only way you will succeed as a business owner is by growing and nurturing a happy group of smart people.

Wait a second. Happy?

Yes, part of building a successful team is building a happy team.

Why? Because a happy team is a more productive team.

A recent study showed that happier workers are up to 10% more productive at work.

You might not be able to buy happiness, but happiness can help you make a better profit!

Think about the last time you got into what many people call a ‘flow state’ at work. It’s when you start a task and barely look up from your computer screen until the task is complete.

Maybe you were jamming to your favorite music or listening to your favorite productivity track, such as Coffitivity.

Either way, when you finally came up for air, you were surprised to find that an hour or more had passed.

Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say.

Now, think about the last client you had (or maybe even still have) who you dreaded working for.

It is a well-known feeling, based on the 12 million search results for “how to stay motivated when you hate your job.”

Your client might have paid really well, which is why you didn’t fire them, but working on the account felt like walking through hot sand.

Every step was painful and slow.

It goes to show that money isn’t necessarily the best motivator.

Paying your team really well isn’t always the answer.

Which is a good thing, because if it were many bootstrapped brands would have never made it off the ground.

To be successful, your team needs to be intrinsically motivated or driven by something inside themselves.

W. Edwards Deming, the famous engineer, had this to say about intrinsic motivation: “Monetary rewards are not a substitute for intrinsic motivation.”

So, how do you create a team that is motivated not by money, but intrinsically?

By keeping your team in alignment.

Okay, but what does that mean?

The Business Dictionary defines alignment as, “[The] linking of organizational goals with the employees’ personal goals. Requires a common understanding of purposes and goals of the organization, and consistency between every objective and plan.”

Keeping your team in alignment means making sure the company’s goals and your team’s goals are in sync.

It means getting your team members to emotionally buy into your company’s path.

Let’s say, for example, your goal is to grow traffic to your site by 200% in the next six weeks. (Which is totally possible, I did it at Crazy Egg.)

It’s a lofty goal. How do you make it happen?

By making sure your entire team is aligned.

When the entire team is aligned, your business will grow.

Let’s look at a few strategies for creating a team that is aligned with your company’s goals and that stays strong as you work toward those objectives.

Build a company culture of transparency

One of the most rewarding parts of building a company is creating the company culture.

Creating a space where highly skilled, innovative people can thrive is a challenge, and it sounds a bit abstract.

One of the best ways I have found to create a successfully aligned group is through transparency.

Transparency sounds a lot like a buzzword, doesn’t it?

Cognizant, a business technology company, makes transparency one of its core values:

So what does it mean in the real business world?

If we cut through all the buzzwords and “hacks,” transparency is about being a real, approachable human.

It isn’t about personality tests, trust falls or corporate retreats.

It’s about being a real leader and creating real connections with the people you hire to work for you.

Buffer is one of the best-known examples of transparency in our industry.

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The benefits of transparency are two-fold—both your bottom line and your employees benefit from it.


People don’t buy from brands. They buy from people. Being open and honest about your business allows customers to create a true human connection.

For your employees, it fosters a sense of trust and loyalty.

What does transparency look like in the real world?

Does it mean sharing every piece of information with your entire team?

No. You can (and should) still exert some control over the flow of information.

But, as Buffer does, you should make transparency your default position.

There are several topics about which you should always be transparent and straightforward.


Explain all the costs up front, including how and what customers will receive for the agreed-upon cost. Don’t try to hide behind complicated if-then statements.

Outline what you charge succinctly. Don’t stray from that price.

MailChimp creates a great example of this with its “forever free” pricing.

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They also outline their paid programs clearly so you know exactly what you will get at each level.

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Any product or service should come with a guarantee of quality or satisfaction. Why? Because a good guarantee not only inspires trust, but it actually increases conversions.

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No double speak, no asterisks, and no ifs or buts.

It clearly states what the guarantee is, and we stand by it.

The truth is that, if you offer a top-notch product or service, it doesn’t…