High-performing senior teams
The dynamics within the executive team set the tone for the entire organisation. If leaders aren’t aligned to a common purpose, if their team of teams aren’t empowered or can’t challenge, if the executive team doesn’t have open, more vulnerable, conversations themselves, or encourage others to drop their guard - the ramifications can be felt through the company. Executive team dynamics can create a culture that can stifle innovation, agility and collaboration; ultimately, it can be toxic.
So how do senior teams start to move to more of a performance culture that is open, non-defensive, in service of a common goal?
Recently, as Managing Partner of our firm, I was comparing notes with the CEO of a global financial institution about this very subject. Her ask of her team is to be the leaders that become a unified team collaborating effectively together, working seamlessly across the complexities of the matrix and becoming a beacon for the rest of the organisation in influencing their teams and key stakeholders to align around their ambitious growth agenda. She and I discussed six keys that she and I want to pay attention to in creating a sense of joint endeavour and partnership at the top – in her large enterprise and in my boutique firm alike - creating a culture that then intentionally ripples through the rest of the organisation.
Our first four keys centre on the human dynamics in the team – creating the vision, clarifying roles, contracting together, and creating the culture to work together to achieve demanding goals:
- Focus on leading effectively to achieve the vision and strategy of the organisation and creating and developing the desired team culture. These are not mutually exclusive; they are intertwined.
- Understand what it will take to more visibly support and empower the wider team, when challenges are called for. This is important in moving from an instructional mentality to a more empowered culture.
- Have productive and candid discussion on the team’s joint endeavour and value-add. Forge and deepen personal connections, build relationships and trust.
- Partner across the business in different directions to explore how to work together, engage with a common purpose, and be collaborative – beyond the immediate circle.
Our final two keys turn attention to capability and building the collective reflex to sustain this high-performance culture:
- Develop alignment around collaborative ways of working and work together to explore and renew common purpose.
- Develop better leadership skills through peer coaching, support and challenge, deep listening and catalytic conversations.
Here are a couple more articles focused on Teams and Team Coaching: