Whatever you call it—management team, senior team, leadership team, executive team—the top team in an organization is critically important. But some teams are noticeably more effective than others, and the effective ones have the following things in common.
They can have the tough conversations. Senior teams that dance around issues and don’t speak their truth to each other are less effective than those that do. They waste time during decision making and generally make less effective decisions because not all the information is put out on the table. To build this capacity, you should work on building trust and improving your skills in conflict resolution.
They have their eye on strategy every week. Even at weekly meetings, which are mostly about tactical issues that week, they are scanning critical numbers and evaluating whether they are on- or off-track on their quarterly priorities. Teams that only focus on strategy a few times a year rarely lead growth. To build this capacity, you must build a solid system that connects strategy and execution, complete with metrics and clear accountability.
They own the culture. They don’t control it—culture lives at every level of the organization—but they are responsible for making sure the culture is aligned with what drives success on a continuous basis. Teams that abdicate or delegate their role in culture management will see their culture evolve in ways that are not effective. To build this capacity it will help to have a culture design process completed, and you must include culture management and the identification of areas of culture friction into management team conversations at least once per quarter.
They look up, not down. In other words, they put the organization and its growth above the needs of their own silo. The existence of silos is not the problem, but when management team members stay too focused on their own area of expertise and experience, organizational results always suffer. To build this capacity, you probably need to start with the three capacities above and then add one key element: developing a growth mindset in your individual leaders. Without a growth mindset, leaders retreat to what they already know, and that means more focus on silos.
For each of these four keys, there are concrete things you can do to build the necessary capacities. If you want help, then schedule a call with me because this is precisely what we do in our team coaching project.