What type of Leadership Team do you want?

I have worked with over 20 leadership teams over the last 16 years as a team coach. Some of been with a CEO and their direct reports and some have been with the leadership team of a direct report to the CEO. I love working with senior leadership teams. A high performing leadership team can set a positive message to the rest of the organisation around leadership, performance and teamwork.

There are generally, but not always, two types of senior leadership teams that I observe.

Two Types of Leadership Teams

There are those teams that have at their essence a clear understanding of the added value they have in advancing the organisation’s strategy. They collaborate on purpose and drive enterprise wide goals. When they come together they bring both a functional hat (e.g. CMO/CFO/CPO etc) and an Executive Leadership Team hat. They are clear about their boundaries, their interdependencies and their enterprise wide accountabilities. I call them an Enterprise Focused Leadership Team.

Then there are those teams that come together because they are a direct report to someone higher than them and at their meetings share information updates, often direct through the leader, and once they are done they head back to their functional area to deliver on their individual accountabilities. They might chat about broader issues but they usually focus on tactical and operational issues, they are likely to cooperate with each where required (usually with their functional hat on) but overall they operate in silos. I often call them Information Sharing Leadership Team.

Many aspire to be the Enterprise Focused LT but most operate similar to an Information Sharing LT. There are a number of reasons for this including organisational culture, the performance and rewards system, the personality of the leader, historical, structural and leadership talent.

I also want to make it clear that information sharing is important, but it doesn’t create a team and doesn’t tap into the value add a team can provide.

How can you shift to an Enterprise Leadership Team

If you do want to shift from being an Information Sharing LT towards one being more Enterprise Focused then the following questions may help kick start the process.

  • Why do you need to be team?
  • What are our interdependencies?
  • What value add can we provide to the organisation by operating as a team?
  • What are the mission critical challenges we face as a team?
  • Do we have a collective strategy to address these mission critical challenges
  • What is the legacy we want to leave as a leadership team?
  • What is our purpose?
  • What could we achieve for the organisation/division, working together, that we could not achieved otherwise?
  • What expertise do we need on our leadership team?
  • Do we have that expertise?

 

Some of these questions may elicit similar answers but mostly they should generate a conversation around answering the why? Why do we need to be a team? I ask some of these questions with senior teams to help them generate the awareness and the willingness to want to operate differently.

Moving from an Information Sharing LT to an Enterprise Focused LT requires hard work but that work starts with the exploration around purpose? Once you have a compelling and consequential purpose you can start doing the work around operating as a team rather than a group of individuals who shares information.

If you want to help your leadership team to be more enterprise focused feel free to contact me at andrew@agilityconsulting.com.au

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