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35 Practical Tips to Get Your People Rowing in the Same Direction

Updated: Dec 6, 2022


When it comes to business, there’s no “I” in team. But that doesn’t mean everyone is always on the same page. In order for a team to be successful, they need to be rowing in the same direction. So how do you get your team rowing in the same direction? Here are four tips:


1. Model effective conflict-resolution for your team.


There are a few key things to keep in mind when resolving conflicts within a team:


- Communication is key. Make sure everyone is on the same page and that all concerns are aired openly and honestly. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.


- Stay calm and be respectful. No one wins an argument by being hostile or condescending. Stay focused on the issue at hand and try to resolve the conflict as efficiently as possible.


- Be willing to compromise. If both parties are willing to listen to each other and meet in the middle, chances are the conflict will be resolved much more quickly.


By following these simple guidelines, you can help your team to effectively resolve any conflicts that may arise.


2. Communicate your vision clearly and consistently.


When it comes to resolving conflicts within a team, communication is key. Make sure everyone is on the same page and that all concerns are aired openly and honestly. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.


It's also important to stay calm and be respectful during these conversations. No one wins an argument by being hostile or condescending. Stay focused on the issue at hand and try to resolve the conflict as efficiently as possible.


Finally, be willing to compromise. If both parties are willing to listen to each other and meet in the middle, chances are the conflict will be resolved much more quickly. By following these simple guidelines, you can help your team to effectively communicate their vision and resolve any conflicts that may arise.


3. Create team-building opportunities.


One way to help prevent conflicts from arising within a team is to create team-building opportunities. This will help the team to better understand each other and work better together. Some ways to do this include:


- Hosting team lunches or dinners. This is a great way for everyone to get to know each other better and chat about things other than work.


- Organizing group activities outside of work. This can be anything from playing sports to going on hikes. It allows the team to have fun and get to know each other in a relaxed setting.


- Encouraging open communication. Make sure everyone in the team feels comfortable voicing their opinions and sharing any concerns they may have. This will help to prevent any simmering tensions from turning into full-blown conflicts.


By creating team-building opportunities, you can help your team to better understand each other and work together more effectively.


4. Align Your Goals


If you want your team to be effective at resolving conflicts, it's important to ensure that everyone is on the same page. One way to do this is to align your team's goals. This will help everyone to understand why they're working together and what they're working towards.


Some tips for aligning your team's goals include:


- Making sure everyone has a voice. Make sure everyone in the team has a chance to contribute their ideas and feedback. This will help to ensure that everyone is on board with the goals and that no one feels left out.


- Setting achievable goals. It's important to set realistic goals that can be achieved within a reasonable timeframe. This will help to keep everyone motivated and focused on the task at hand.


- Encouraging communication. Make sure everyone in the team is open to communicating with each other and sharing their thoughts and ideas. This will help to keep everyone on track and headed in the same direction.


By aligning your team's goals, you can help them work more effectively towards a common goal.


5. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team


A cohesive leadership team is key to effective conflict resolution. When everyone is on the same page and has the same goals, it makes it much easier to come to a consensus.


Use Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team to build your leadership team:


- Absence of trust

- Fear of conflict

- Lack of commitment

- Avoidance of accountability

- Inattention to results


6. Business is Communication


The best way to avoid conflict in a business setting is to maintain clear and open communication. Make sure everyone is on the same page, airing all concerns openly and honestly. This will help to avoid any hurt feelings or misunderstandings.


When tensions do arise, it's important to stay calm and respectful. No one wins an argument by being hostile or condescending. Stay focused on the issue at hand and try to resolve the conflict as efficiently as possible.


Finally, be willing to compromise. If both parties are willing to listen to each other and meet in the middle, chances are the conflict will be resolved much more quickly. By following these simple guidelines, you can help your team to effectively communicate their vision and resolve any conflicts that may arise.


7. Business is Hard Work


In order to be successful in business, it's important to be prepared for hard work. You'll need to put in the time and effort to achieve your goals.


There will be times when things don't go your way, but don't let that get you down. Persevere through the tough times and keep working hard. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


Remember, success doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and effort to achieve great things. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


8. Business is Similar To Rowing


In order to be successful in business, it's important to be prepared for a lot of hard work. You'll need to put in the time and effort to achieve your goals.


There will be times when things don't go your way, but don't let that get you down. Persevere through the tough times and keep working hard. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


Remember, success doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and effort to achieve great things. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


9. Business is Teamwork


When it comes to business, teamwork is essential. If everyone isn't on the same page, it can be difficult to achieve success. That's why it's important to have a cohesive leadership team that can work together towards a common goal.


Make sure everyone is open to communicating with each other and sharing their thoughts and ideas. This will help to keep everyone on track and headed in the same direction. Additionally, be willing to compromise. If both parties are willing to listen to each other and meet in the middle, chances are the conflict will be resolved much more quickly.


With a strong team in place, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


10. Clarify the need.


Have a one-on-one meeting and ask questions to determine why this person is late. Do they need time off? A change in schedule? Other accommodations? How do their needs impact those of the team?


11. Create Clarity


When it comes to business, clarity is key. If everyone isn't on the same page, it can be difficult to achieve success. That's why it's important to have a cohesive leadership team that can work together towards a common goal.


Make sure everyone is open to communicating with each other and sharing their thoughts and ideas. This will help to keep everyone on track and headed in the same direction. Additionally, be willing to compromise. If both parties are willing to listen to each other and meet in the middle, chances are the conflict will be resolved much more quickly.


With a strong team in place, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


12. Defining “Stronger Team”


The term "stronger team" can be interpreted in a few different ways. For example, a stronger team could mean a team that is more united and cohesive. Or it could mean a team that is more effective at communicating and resolving conflicts.


Either way, a stronger team is one that is able to work together towards a common goal. Make sure everyone is open to communicating with each other and sharing their thoughts and ideas. This will help to keep everyone on track and headed in the same direction. Additionally, be willing to compromise. If both parties are willing to listen to each other and meet in the middle, chances are the conflict will be resolved much more quickly.


With a strong team in place, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


13. Develop an action plan.


The first step is to assess the situation. What needs to change in order for the team to be stronger? Once you have a clear understanding of the problem, you can start developing a plan of action.


The plan should be tailored to fit the specific needs of your team. Make sure everyone is on board and willing to participate. If everyone isn't on the same page, it can be difficult to achieve success.


The next step is to put the plan into action. This will require time and effort, but it's essential if you want to see results. Be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


Remember, success doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and effort to achieve great things. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did..


14. Evaluate the results.


After putting the plan into action, it's important to evaluate the results. Did it achieve the desired outcome? If not, what needs to be changed?


Be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


15. Great rowers work their place in the boat.


If you want your team to be strong and successful, everyone needs to be willing to work hard and put in the effort. Just like great rowers work their place in the boat, everyone on your team needs to be willing to contribute and do their part.


This requires dedication and determination. But if you're willing to put in the work, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


16. Identify the symptom to understand the problem.


The symptom of a team that is not working together effectively is usually a lack of communication. If everyone isn't on the same page, it can be difficult to achieve success.


Another symptom could be a high number of conflicts. If the team is constantly arguing and bickering, it's a sign that something is wrong.


The bottom line is that if the team is not working together effectively, there will be problems. Be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


17. Measure the results.


Evaluate how well the team is working together by looking at the number of conflicts and the level of communication. If there is a decrease in the number of conflicts and an increase in communication, then the team is working together more effectively..


18. Overcommunicate Clarity


If you want your team to be strong and successful, overcommunicate clarity. This means making sure everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding of the goals and objectives.


Clarity is essential for a successful team. If there is any confusion or misunderstanding, it can lead to conflicts and problems. So be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


19. Reinforce Clarity


One way to reinforce clarity is to hold team meetings. This will give everyone a chance to discuss the goals and objectives, and make sure everyone is on the same page.


Another way to reinforce clarity is to use visuals. This can be helpful for team members who are not auditory learners. Make sure the visuals are clear and easy to understand.


The bottom line is that if you want your team to be successful, you need to ensure that there is clarity. Be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way.


20. Rowing is Communication


If you want your team to be strong and successful, rowing is communication. This means making sure everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding of the goals and objectives.


Rowing requires cooperation and communication. If one person is not rowing in the same direction, it can cause problems. The same is true for a team. If the team is not working together effectively, there will be problems.


Be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. Rowing is communication, so make sure your team is working together effectively.


21. Rowing is Hard Work


If you want your team to be strong and successful, you need to be willing to put in the hard work. Just like great rowers work their place in the boat, everyone on your team needs to be willing to contribute and do their part.


This requires dedication and determination. But if you're willing to put in the work, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


22. Rowing is Teamwork


If you want your team to be strong and successful, you need to ensure that there is teamwork. This means everyone working together towards a common goal.


Rowing requires teamwork. If one person is not rowing in the same direction, it can cause problems. The same is true for a team. If the team is not working together effectively, there will be problems.


So be patient and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. Rowing is teamwork, so make sure your team is working together effectively.


23. Set a goal.


Set a goal of working together more effectively as a team. This goal should be measurable and attainable. Make sure everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding of what needs to be done.


Keep track of your progress towards this goal by measuring the number of conflicts that arise and the level of communication amongst team members. Don’t be afraid to hold team meetings and use visuals to reinforce the goal.


With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. Set a goal, stay focused on it, and don't give up until you reach it!


24. Rowing Requires Commitment


If you want your team to be strong and successful, you need commitment from every single team member. Each individual must be dedicated to doing their part and pushing themselves to perform at their best.


This requires dedication, commitment and hard work. But if you're willing to put in the effort, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


Rowing is an important skill to have if you want your team to be successful. Make sure everyone on the team is on the same page, and make sure each person is committed to doing their part. With dedication and determination, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


25. The Bottom Line


- Work hard and stay focused on your goals


- Put in the dedication and commitment necessary to be successful


- Use teamwork to overcome any obstacle


26. The Business Outcome of Peacemaking: Stronger Team


If you want your team to be strong and successful, peacemaking is a critical skill to have. When tensions are high and conflict arises, it can be difficult to resolve the situation. However, if you're able to use peacemaking skills effectively, you'll be able to resolve the conflict and move on stronger than ever.


So what are the benefits of peacemaking?


- Resolving Conflict: As mentioned before, one of the main benefits of peacemaking is that it allows you to resolve conflict. This can be done in a number of ways, such as through communication, negotiation or mediation.


- Improved Communication: When there is peace in the workplace, communication tends to improve as well. This is because people are less likely to be defensive and more likely to be open and honest with each other.


- Stronger Team: Finally, one of the most important outcomes of peacemaking is that it strengthens teams. This happens because team members are able to work together more effectively when there is no conflict. They are also able to trust each other more, which leads to better collaboration.


So if you want your team to be strong and successful, make sure they know how to peacemaker effectively. It could make all the difference in the world


27. You can row in the same direction even when you can’t see where you’re going.


This is an important metaphor to remember when working on a team. Even when you can't see what the future holds, you can still move forward if you're all rowing in the same direction. This requires dedication, commitment and hard work from every team member.


If you're willing to put in the effort, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


28. You gain forward movement on the water by practicing every day.


This is an important metaphor to remember when working on a team. Even when you can't see what the future holds, you can still move forward if you're all rowing in the same direction. This requires dedication, commitment and hard work from every team member.


If you're willing to put in the effort, you'll be able to overcome any obstacle in your way. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. You'll be glad you did.


29. Your form creates energy in ways you do not appreciate.


Rowing is not just about getting the boat moving forward. It's also about creating energy. This energy helps push the boat forward and allows it to move faster. The same is true for teams. When team members are working together effectively, they create energy that helps the team move forward and achieve its goals.


However, this energy is often not appreciated. Team members often take it for granted and don't appreciate the importance of working together effectively. So make sure you appreciate the energy your team creates, and make sure you're doing everything you can to create more of it.


Five Questions To Ask To Get Your People Rowing In The Same Direction


I'm not a rower. So, if you're here to actually learn how to get your rowing team more in sync ... then, well, this might help you, too. Because a rowing team is a team after all. That's why the analogy works.

We are, of course, talking about group cohesion. So, what group are you leading or a part of? Whatever group that is—or team as you might call it—my goal here is to give you five questions to answer that will help you get your people rowing in the same direction.

Before we get into the questions, let's state the obvious. A rowing team full of people trying to row in different directions would be shambolic. Most importantly, for the analogy, they're not going to reach their destination. If they're in a race they're going to come last or never finish or maybe even injure another team by going the wrong direction.

So, where is your team going? What are your goals? My hope is that as your team starts rowing in the same direction, you'll see results like you never have before. And, as a team, you'll have wins that you never thought were possible.

30. When do you get together?

Seems obvious, right? For group cohesion, I believe the most important thing you can do immediately is review how often you're getting together. Ever noticed a rowing team is in the same boat? Step one—get in the same boat.


Too often when people are going in different directions, the team meets less and less because of the frustration that's involved in meeting. My advice is to reverse this immediately. Get together. Start somewhere. Communicate something. Check how everyone is going. Get a pulse. Check for a pulse in some instances.

Think of meetings like practice for a rowing team. They don't just turn up at the olympics and take all of their individual training to pull off an amazing race. They've spent hours, days, weeks, months and years training together to become an effective team.


If you have a record of leading or being part of terrible, painful, waste-of-time, would-rather-be-arguing-with-a-telemarketer sort of meetings, then read Patrick Lencioni's great book, Death by Meeting. And implement his meeting framework yesterday.

31. Why are you going?

Ever been involved in something or had a task to do and you've thought, "why am I even doing this?" Leaders, listen up. I want you to stop, take off all of your emotionally defensive armour for a moment and consider something.


Is it possible ... remotely possible ... that people in your team feel that way about your team and/or organisation? Ouch. I've been there as the leader. You're on fire. You know why you're doing what you're doing. Well, you don't know why, as in you couldn't articulate it neatly. But it's running through your veins. You simply have to do what you're doing.

Unfortunately, people don't automatically catch this. Some leaders are contagious with their why. It's natural and everyone around them seems to catch the purpose of what they're doing. I'm not one of those leaders.


I have to be incredibly intentional about contaminating everyone around me with my why and my organisation's why. What's the point? Let me put it this way. What are you most passionate about? In the world? Whatever that is, stop and think about how you feel about that idea, initiative or thing.


As leaders, our goal should be to communicate the purpose of our endeavours so well that the people we lead experience a level of passion for what we're doing that's similar to that thing you just thought of. As you do this more and more, you'll attract people who are passionate about your purpose.

So, why do you exist? Individually and as an organisation? I know it sounds abstract and ethereal. But there is no greater driver than purpose. Whatever you can articulate, no matter how simplistic and imperfect, talk about that ... all the time ... incessantly.


If you have the time and/or budget to invest in this area, then do it. Get external help articulating and communicating your why through your organisation. As the story goes, why, purpose, vision—whatever you call it—is like two labourers who were moving rocks from one spot to another.


When asked what they were doing, the first labourer replied, "moving rocks." But the second labourer replied, "I'm building a castle." Why you're doing what you're doing is that powerful.

If you're reading this question and your head is dropping because you just don't know where you would start with such a big, abstract idea, then check out Lencioni's book The Advantage.


He has a section dedicated to creating clarity in organisations and this is the first question of six. For a start, and a deeper understanding of how to articulate your 'why', read my blog Understanding the Six Questions.

32. Um ... who are you?

Ok, so you've thought about why you're doing what you're doing and you're talking about it incessantly. Now it's time to think about who you are. Not you individually, you as a team and/or an organisation. What makes you unique?


Articulate the core behaviours that make you unique and then go big on them. This is a massive part of group cohesion. Forget 'honesty', 'innovation' etc. We're talking about truly unique core values.

As an example, one of Clarity's core values is work/life balance. Going big on work/life balance looks like paying the cost to work less in order to prioritise other parts of life. It might mean saying no to potential work if it's going to violate that value.


It means I need to extend it beyond myself and approach those I work with from the same perspective. If I need something asap but to insist on that would mean asking someone else to violate work/life balance. Then, as long as it's reasonable, I should be willing to pay the cost in order to stay true to the value of work/life balance.


So, what are your values? Teams that truly know who they are and live it out unapologetically and unreservedly are incredible to behold and even better to be a part of.

33. Where are you going?

Once you've articulated your purpose and values, it's time to look at where you're going. What are you as a team and/or as an organisation working towards? Write a list now of the things that your team/organisation is working on. Big projects. But don't write fifty things, I want you to just write the most significant things.


How many are there on your list? If you have more than five then stop. Group cohesion isn't just about knowing why you exist and who you are, it's also about being clear about where you're going.

Rowing teams in the olympics aren't trying to catch some fish, get a nice tan and create a beautifully in sync rowing pattern that spells 'Hello world' in morse code. No. Rowing teams in the olympics are trying to win a gold medal.


That's the most significant thing for them and your team needs one thing to be most significant as well. Go back to your list. Patrick Lencioni has this great exercise where you have to pick one top priority that's most important.


Try it on your list. If you had to pick one thing to achieve in the next few months as a team/organisation, what would it be? This is most helpful when done with your team and is once again covered in Lencioni's six questions of Clarity.

34. "John ... why aren't you rowing?"

Ok, here's the tough part. Have you made a start on the first four? Great! You're smashing it. Now it's time for accountability. Group cohesion isn't just about knowing why, who and where. It's about holding people to account.


You know that purpose, those values and that most significant thing we just talked about? Once you've articulated and communicated those things, it's time to hold the people around you to account.


If John starts rowing in a different direction—basically anything that's against your purpose, violates your values or goes in a different direction to the 'where' your team decided, then call them on it.

This is easier said than done. I know. But it's worth it. You simply won't see all the momentum that's possible and the results that you and your team are capable of until you bite the bullet and have some crucial conversations.


Some will need to be one-on-one and some can be done in the group as your team grows in depth. Start with the small things rather than the big elephants in the room. Have conversations with team members about expectations in a way that resets expectations rather than potentially calling people on expectations they may not have been aware of.


Once you've communicated the new expectations, call people on them at every chance. Do it in kindness, but do it. Get awkward and uncomfortable. It's part of life. As the saying goes, when it comes to culture you get what you create and what you allow.

There we have it! Five questions for you to answer to get your team rowing in the same direction. What do you think? Was it helpful? I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line if you have any questions and if you have any stories of successes or challenges.

And go and win that gold medal!


35. Rinse and repeat: Create a cadence


The last thing I want to say about how to get your people rowing in the same direction is to create a cadence where you review and implement.


The fact you're reading this says you are intentional and consistent right now at reviewing direction. The key to long-term success is to come back and review it again. Build in a cadence to your team and organization where this question is asked.


Then lead the way by asking the tough questions so you can get on the same page and end up where you want to be.


In order to get your team rowing in the same direction, it's important to be dedicated and committed. You need to put in the hard work necessary to achieve success. And most importantly, you need to use teamwork to overcome any obstacle. So don't give up, and keep working hard towards your goals. Your team will be glad you did.


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