It’s that time of year when you and your team will be aiming to finish the year on a high note, and looking ahead to get next year off to a strong start. If you haven’t run a team strategy session for a while, now is a good time to get aligned.

Team alignment is the starting point for great teamwork. It means that a team is clear on what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. You can feel the power of alignment when there’s clarity and focus, team members are supporting rather than working against each other and there’s a sense of forward momentum. Even if a well-aligned team gets thrown off course, they can quickly get back into gear.

If it feels like your team is too busy to have a session where you look at the bigger picture, then it’s a sign you could benefit from one. When everything on your to-do lists feels both urgent and important, it’s time to step back to assess whether you’re all actually working on the right things and going in the same direction. This will help to provide a rationale, a context and a decision-making filter to prioritise the work that you are doing.

Team strategy sessions give you the opportunity to capture your team’s expertise, uncover points of conflict, and explore new opportunities.

Capture your team’s expertise

In a team strategy session you’ll aim to gather everything that everyone knows and throw it into the mix. A busy team rarely has time to stop and reflect on what they’ve learned, and as a result, you could be losing invaluable “on-the-job” knowledge that can make your next year more focused and productive. This process might feel messy and overwhelming at first, and that’s natural. Think of all that expertise that could have otherwise been left untapped. Eventually, during the discussion you’ll start to see themes, overlaps and insights emerge – the important nuggets that will form your next year’s strategy.

Uncover points of conflict

Bringing this information to the surface can help you see where unidentified tensions have been slowing down your team. You will be able to have productive discussions about where conflict exists rather than ignoring it. By seeing where you disagree, you can actively problem-solve a way forward together. You may even find that addressing these unique challenges can give you a competitive advantage.

Explore new opportunities

Many of us working in knowledge-based roles want to feel a sense of progress and development. We get bored or restless if we feel stuck in a cycle of repetition. We want to grow in our roles, whether that’s mastering our craft or taking on new challenges. We like thinking time and to have the opportunity to go deep – not get stuck in a sea of shallow tasks that no longer fuel or motivate us. A team strategy session helps us to explore what opportunities may be next.

What comes next?

Team strategy sessions can provide a space for people to feel heard and to connect. This can do amazing things for engagement, helping people to gain a new perspective on their work. They can be fun, exciting discussions that create a sense of motivation. Keep this energy going by translating it into the day-to-day through synthesis and turning ideas into action.

Busy teams can benefit from regular higher-level discussions to connect the work they’re doing to why they’re doing it. Team strategy sessions are a great way to refresh and reset, and ensure that everyone is on the right track.

Get a template for a “big-picture thinking” team strategy session.