A few years ago I had the privilege of working closely with Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall. Having the right people on the executive team is a subject he has researched deeply. It's the whole basis of his work, captured in the maxim, “first who then what.” It’s also a subject we are often asked to advise on by the leaders we work with. The question is vital. I see many organisations trying to achieve a significant performance improvement and culture shift – without really taking seriously the most important question of all, [...]
Last time I promised to write about how to start to tap into the gold mine inside your organisation. The first step is to build a real team at the top. When your company's executive team are not on the same page about what’s best for the whole organisation and they put their own interests, needs and functional areas before the priorities of the larger organisation there is a problem. A bank executive told me recently, when there is no cohesion and unity at the top, the stage is set for interdepartmental rivalry, backbiting, confusion and infighting everywhere else. This [...]
We recently worked with an executive team that was working very hard but not seeing the results. Perhaps you are part of a team like this? You are dedicated, work long hours, are constantly online, perhaps even take conference calls at 2.00 am, but your company is just not seeing the results. What is missing is clarity. Clarity means knowing what to focus on to get results. Clarity drives consistent behaviour and it eliminates unnecessary activity. Without true clarity you end up having too many priorities (which really mean none at all) and your behavioural standards are unclear. This leads [...]
This was no ordinary executive team. Their meetings were lively and interesting. Controversial topics were tackled head on and team members voiced their opinions even if this meant disagreeing with each other. There was very little fake harmony that characterizes the dynamics of so many teams. People voiced their opinions even if it caused disagreement as long as it was productive. All of this happened inside of their meetings. There was no corridor talk about each other to third parties. Loyalty to the absent was one of their most sacred rules. This made them different. In working with them I [...]
A few years ago I found myself working with an executive team where the levels of trust were incredibly low. The lack of it was thick in the air, like pea soup. Team members were guarded and defensive. Time and energy was wasted on self-protection and I noticed how each person carefully managed their words and actions. People hid their mistakes and weaknesses from each other, no one ever dared ask for help. Team members avoided spending time together and everyone dreaded meetings. Predictably these were time consuming and ineffective. Instead of showing boldness the team was hesitant and tentative. [...]
Building High Performance Business Teams – Patrick Lencioni Interview GalleryAuthors, Books, Executive Teams, Grant Ashfield, Key Note Speakers, Motivation, Organisational Health, Patrick Lencioni, Team Work, Teams, The Advantage, Top Teams
Patrick Lencioni is a best-selling author, speaker and consultant. He has worked with thousands of senior executives in organisations ranging from Fortune 500 corporations and professional sports teams to universities and nonprofits. He is the author of the international best sellers The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage, which are weekly fixtures on international bestseller lists; his books have sold over three million copies.
Jim Collins hardly needs an introduction. He is a student and teacher of enduring great companies – how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. He has authored and co-authored some of the worlds’ best selling books on leadership. Built to Last, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall and Great by Choice is standard reading for leaders looking to gain a competitive advantage. Grant Ashfield caught up with him to discuss his work and to find out how to lead and pursue greatness in turbulent times.
Is your team larger than 10 people? If so it is too big. An ideal team size is between 3 and 10 members. This is true for all teams but especially for Executive Teams. When teams are larger than 10 members, meetings become less effective, time is wasted seeking consensus and the necessary conflict and spirited discussion required to generate real clarity is hard to have – all leading to important decisions failing to be made and windows of opportunity closing. An Executive Team we worked with found it very difficult to make the hard decisions about team size and [...]
Your most important responsibility as an executive is to create an environment of success inside your business. We call this organisational health and it is so valuable that mastering it should neither be delayed nor delegated. There are four simple but demanding steps to get your organisation healthy. We say they are disciplines because although common sense, they don't come naturally. To master they require courage, patience and perseverance. Discipline 1 | Build a Cohesive Leadership Team Your first step is to get your leaders, starting with the top team, to behave in a functional, cohesive way. If your leaders [...]
All the competitive advantages we've been pursuing during our careers are gone. That's right. Advantages such as strategy, technology, finance and marketing are gone. These disciplines have not disappeared. They are all alive and well in most organisations. And that's good, because they're important. But as genuine differentiators that set one company apart from another, they are no longer anything close to what they once were. That's because virtually every organisation, of any size, has access to the best thinking and practices around strategy, technology and related topics. Companies use the same consultants, they go to the same conferences and [...]