There are no guarantees in business. On the other hand, no CEO should take wild chances or gamble with success, especially when an easy trifecta for success is attainable. Once you’ve reached the ivory tower where CEOs lives, life is smooth sailing right? Not exactly. When you were working hard to reach this plateau, you probably only had one boss. Now you may have six or 12 depending on the size of your Board. You probably had people to manage. Now, however, you inherit an executive team to help you bear the burdens of leadership that has more power and input than people you were managing. Now the stakes are higher and getting them all on the same page, may prove to be a challenge. You can bet that one or two of them wanted the CEO position and may prove to be difficult. Maybe at least one thinks you’re not the right person for the job. Others may just want to hang onto their hands or jobs, and hope you don’t come in wielding an ax. Whether you’re a new or seasoned CEO, an article in HBR provides information for the Ace up your sleeve.
The title to this article has a double meaning…getting your team to work as one and not as separate silos; and getting them to function as a real team. Top executives often manage teams that focus on their own business units. Working together as a team sounds like a fundamentally good idea. Unfortunately, these executives do not possess the experience for getting their teams to function as one. In fact, according to an article by Debra Nunes with the Korn Ferry Institute…
“There are a couple of reasons why today’s senior leaders aren’t particularly good at working together. For one thing, it wasn’t a point of emphasis for many of them when they were coming through the ranks. Much of their working careers have been spent managing risk, defining a market, recognizing opportunities and leading subordinates. They weren’t, however, often asked to be a teammate of similarly driven, talented colleagues. Even as recently as the 1990s, only about 20 percent of professional work was team-based. Now it’s about 80 percent.”
As long as there is business, change will occur. Indeed, change must occur for business in any industry to be successful. In fact, the Human Capital Trends Study by Deloitte states that over 75% of organizations are restructuring or have just completed that process. Any of us who have been a participant in a change process are witness to the fact that it is no easy task. To make matters worse, many organizations know they want to change, but don’t always know where to begin.
However, the Deloitte study suggests there are at least ten top trends from which to make a selection. For your convenience, Matthew French with Subscribe HR lists them:
Managing is difficult at best.
For new managers, it’s even worse.
But inheriting a mess or dysfunctional team can try the experience, expertise, and skills of even the most seasoned managers. Trying to undo the mistakes and shortcomings of an incompetent predecessor can be like trying to arm wrestle a plate of spaghetti. There may be “obvious” items such as redundant processes, unnecessary paperwork, or poor equipment or software choices. But there may also be not so obvious items such as the person who wanted your job and is out for revenge. Or how about the person who, in reality, was running the department while your predecessor slept. Then of course, our favorites - the difficult employees. You know them, the passive aggressive, the victim, the disrupter, the martyr, or the inconsistent employee. Fortunately, those who have gone before have left a blueprint to help guide managers, at almost any, level toward success in managing a mess.
Does coaching work? Is it worth the expense? What about the time it takes? And how much time should it take? These are just a few questions associated with coaching and its effectiveness – or lack thereof.
Since I do coaching, this topic is of immense interest to me and how I serve my clients. But it should be of interest to every executive and manager who seeks to achieve goals, improve performance, build relationships, and excel at leadership.
Don’t get the idea that I’m going to tell you that coaching is the silver bullet you need to solve all your problems as well as the problems of your executive team and managerial staff. Unfortunately, the Lone Ranger was the only one with silver bullets. Sorry, Kemosabe. However, because coaching is a relatively new tool in the scheme of things, research on its effectiveness has been at best sketchy and some of it downright bad. Of course, every study has its flaws and recommendations for the next study team to do things differently, better, bigger, or in more detail. The information for this blog post is drawn from three studies, listed at the end of this article along with apologies to AMA rules and guidelines.
Every person you hire will either improve your organization or detract from it in some manner. Hiring the “heroes” that contribute in a positive manner to the organization is a valuable strategic goal. People involved in the hiring process need to be your internal “hiring heroes” who maintain a constant vigilance in seeking out the “heroes” to hire. The good news here is that you can have both.
Many who conduct hiring interviews think they must ask the “magic bullet” questions or play gotcha’, or believe they are the ones who should make the hiring decision. None of this is necessary or even encouraged. Following some proven, effective guidelines consistently will produce candidates who are “Hero Hires.”
Ahhh, the corporate retreat, a chance to get away from the office, do a few activates, and get to know our team members better. In many cases, an outside consultant or facilitator comes in and helps executives spark new ideas and conduct strategic planning. At the end of the retreat the executive team is all aflutter with those new ideas and secure in that finally plans have been made to fix some processes, that creative ideas for growth have been discovered, and the morale of every single person in the organization will be lifted to new heights. Now picture a camera moving through the empty, black, cold, silence of outer space. This, unfortunately, is the state of strategic planning just a few months after the retreat. Why is there such a dark chasm of disconnect between the strategic retreat and implementation?
There are plenty of models to follow for strategic planning and making change happen. There is enough information out there on strategic planning and its implementation that would probably circle the globe numerous times. However, there are some strategies that need to take place even before placing the reservations for your retreat.
A quote attributed to Ralph Nadar, consumer advocate, lawyer, and author, states: “I start with the premise, that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” The leadership in small to mid-sized organizations often fail to see a need for leadership development. Considering two facts should make it obvious that leadership development is essential to the survival of such organizations. A White Paper by Center for Creative Leadership echoes this idea.
Fact One: An organization is either growing or dying
Fact Two: Leadership will be needed to guide growth, sustain growth, and take growth into the future.
Let’s take a deeper look at fact one. Organizations must grow in some capacity, either more customers or more revenue. The leadership that brings the company to one level, may not necessarily have the skills to either sustain that level or take the company to the next level.