How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Leadership Team - May 8, 2019
Most would agree that a great leadership team can and should be a powerful competitive advantage for any organization. Unfortunately, great leadership teams are scarce – just ask employees in a lunch room or lobby about ‘the leadership team’ and responses are similar – ‘what team?’; ‘I wouldn’t really call them a team’; ‘they’re more like a dysfunctional group’. And most senior executives agree with these sentiments. In fact, a recent Center for Creative Leadership study revealed that only 18% of senior executives rated their teams as ‘very effective’ while 97% ‘agreed’ that increased effectiveness would have a positive impact on their organizations.
Why is it Difficult for Some CEOs to be Humble? - April 24, 2019
For a host of reasons leadership teams often struggle to dialogue productively - challenge, debate and discuss their most important issues in a manner that progresses the issues and leaves minimal relational scars. On one end of the spectrum team members may like each other so much that they are reluctant to hurt each other’s’ feelings while on the other end team members are fearful of retaliation or being judged. In either case CEOs play pivotal roles in improving a team’s ability to engage in productive dialogue.
The CEO’s Role in Building a Great Leadership Team - March 27, 2019
Most senior executives agree that the complexities of running an organization, even a small growing one, have increased. Continuing technological innovation and an abundance of real-time information have intensified already increasing pressures from customers, competitors, regulators and other stakeholders. Leading any organization today is clearly a challenging endeavor and way beyond the capacity of any one individual. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder, sums it up as follows – “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”
Great Leadership Teams are Fundamentally Sound - March 12, 2019
When mastering a craft, the best performers practice, execute and continue to refine the core skills and techniques that form the foundation of their greatness. For a basketball team, understanding and committing to a method of play and plans for each game greatly enhances the team’s likelihood of success. For a symphony orchestra, the diligence of the warm up is a predictor of a great performance. For an Army Ranger unit, holding each other accountable to a set of simple operating principles can be the difference between life and death.
There is little dispute that great leadership teams are the cornerstones to the success of growing organizations. So why is it that many leadership teams are dysfunctional at best and sometimes even become detractors to an organization’s success. Many CEOs assume that assembling a group of talented managers will result in a highly-functional senior team. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple - building a truly great team requires attention to detail and hard work; skills that help leaders solve important technical and business challenges but that aren’t often used to build great teams.
Great leadership teams are critical to an organization’s success and trust is the fuel that helps to make leadership teams thrive. Reinforcing this point are the findings from Google’s seminal study[i]on what makes a great team at Google – “individuals on teams with high trust bring in more revenue, are less likely to leave Google, are more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates and are rated as effective twice as often by executives.” Paul Santagata, Head of Industry at Google, puts it simply - “There is no team without trust.”
Recently I had an intense discussion with a senior executive client about loyalty and trust in relation to his executive team. His premise is that he wants his leadership team to be loyal to him or as he puts it ‘they have to have my back and I have to have theirs.’ He argued that while it is ideal for an executive team to be able to discuss issues and challenges openly and without judgment, it is more important for teams to speak with one voice and to have each others’ backs...
Simply put, the job of a senior team leader (CEO, President, GM) in leading a senior team is to establish the conditions that will help the team thrive and be resilient. Unfortunately, the work isn’t simple at all and is often made more challenging by the tendency of many executives to assume that with experience and position comes the ability to serve as an effective leadership team member. Evolving a group of...
Great Leadership Teams are Feedback Rich - February 7, 2018
As indicated by professors DeNisi and Kluger in an Academy of Management Executive article, one of the most widely accepted principles in psychology is the positive effect that feedback has on performance. Despite this convincing principle, our experience suggests that one of the most challenging aspects of building a great leadership team is the inability of team members to give and receive feedback.
All leadership teams have the opportunity to serve as force multipliers for their organizations where the team’s impact goes far beyond the contributions of individual team members. Leadership teams work hard to shape long-term visions and missions that rally employees, shepherd the execution of strategies that set their organizations apart from competitors, and define values that form strong cultural foundations. Unfortunately, many times these efforts fall short...
By Jack McGuinness
Whitepaper Created in 2015
In very simple terms a leadership team is aligned when all members of the team work in sync to accomplish a common purpose. More specifically, an aligned leadership team debates well, proactively supports each other, is laser focused on what is most important, and is committed to learning and improving. Perhaps most importantly, an aligned leadership team has confidence in its ability to get back in sync after inevitable periods of dysfunction...