The first and most critical step in creating a healthy organisation or business, function, department is for the leadership team to become cohesive. Without an aligned leadership team it will never come close to reaching its full potential.
The first step a team must take is to make sure the right people are sitting on the team and the number of members is not too large (between 3-12). The team must also commit to themselves and each other to do the ongoing work required to develop and maintain a high-performing team. Once that commitment is established, team members must master five behaviours (originally outlined in the business fable The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a great and must read by the way!). They include:
Building Trust: Team members who trust one another are comfortable being open, even exposed, to one another about their failures, weaknesses and fears.
Mastering Conflict: When trust is present, teams are able to engage in unfiltered ideological debate around ideas, issues and decisions that must be made.
Achieving Commitment: The ability to engage in conflict and provide input enables team members to buy-in or commit to decisions.
Embracing Accountability: After commitment is established, team members must be willing to hold one another accountable and remind each other when actions are counterproductive to the team.
Focusing on Results: Collective team results must supersede any departmental or personal objectives or pursuit
Here some questions to getting you thinking about how aligned your the leadership team really is. They are from the great work that Senn Delaney do around top teams.
1. Is it clear the senior team makes decisions unselfishly, for the greater good of the organisation/function, or do they tend to make decisions in their own self interest?
2. Is the senior team seen by the organisation as being aligned on the big picture, the strategy, purpose, vision and values?
3. Do senior team members automatically and consistently “assume best intentions” in motives” in one another especially when they disagree?
4. Do they openly discuss issues in meetings or do most “real”
conversations take place in the hallways after the meetings?
5. When a decision is made in a senior team meeting, does everyone own the decision as theirs and fully support it outside the meeting room - one voice approach?
6. Do they live the company values, challenge people who don't and make decisions based on them?
7. Are they acutely aware of their behaviour and the impact of the shadow they
cast on the organisation?
8. Do they fully participate in initiatives or do they just acknowledge them but do nothing to communicate, support and drive them through the business?
So what is your action, what are you going to stop doing, start doing and continue doing? A great tool you can use to create coherence in your team is the 6P's process I outlined in a previous blog.