Top 5 Challenges of Building a High Performing Leadership Team

Top 5 Challenges of Building a High Performing Leadership Team
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The CEO’s Best Tool for Success – A High Performing Leadership Team
To thrive, organizations must be agile enough to meet everchanging market conditions. The speed and scope of change can be daunting.  From shifting business models to swings in resource allocation, even the most skilled CEOs cannot lead organizational changes effectively on their own. A CEO’s best tool for success is a high performing leadership team.

Top 5 Challenges of Building a High Performing Leadership Team
While executive leadership teams face many internal and external challenges, our leadership simulation assessment data found that five challenges of building a high performing leadership team rise to the surface. 

  1. Lack of True Strategic Clarity
    Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing execute teams.  Yet only one in five executives believe that their executive team is fully aligned on strategic priorities or plans to get where they want to go.  Combine that with the fact that the C-Suite believes their strategy to be twice as clear as their direct reports, and you can imagine how hard it is to create high performance without high levels of strategic clarity in the areas of corporate vision, mission, values, ideal target clients, unique value proposition, and big bets.

    If your executive team is not firing on all cylinders, it may be time to test your level of strategic clarity to see if your plans for success are clear enough, believable enough, and implementable enough to get you where you want to go.
  2. Not Enough Executive Team Trust, Norms, and Processes
    Executive teams do not all develop in the same way at the same speed.  The performance of any team, regardless of its level within the organization, will suffer to create higher performance if there is not enough team health and agreed-upon team processes of how work gets done. Team health is a prerequisite to having enough psychological team safety to have the honest debate required to make the tough decisions – especially when the stakes are high.  Agreed-upon executive team norms and processes set expectations for how the team will interact in completing key tasks.

    Have you invested the time to create enough executive team cohesion and trust to effectively solve tough problems, constructively debate controversial issues, constructively provide feedback, minimize workplace politics, and commit to agreed-upon objectives?
  3. Silo-based Perspectives
    Research by Accenture found that found that de-siloed teams that operate fluidly are 28 percent more likely to achieve the highest levels of growth. It should come as no surprise that high performing leaders focus on achieving company-wide and team goals rather than disconnected functional or silo-based goals. 

    High performing executives set the stage by setting company-wide goals and ensuring that silos and back-channeling at work are not permitted.
  4. Individual versus Team Behavior
    Similar to having a silo versus enterprise-wide perspective, some executives create workplace toxicity because they always put their self-interests before the company, before their peers, and before their team.  While the reasons vary, we are constantly surprised by how CEOs allow one or two selfish leaders to remain on the team even though they create noticeable leadership dysfunction and dissatisfaction.

    Whenever possible, create team-based goals and accountabilities that are supported by meaningful incentive systems to motivate collaboration, communication, and relationships between executive team members.
  5. Inattention to Ongoing Executive Development
    Not only is it a mistake for leadership teams to stop learning, but employees look to leaders to model a growth mindset for their teams.  A stagnant executive team is a less effective executive team. While generic leadership development programs are ineffective, customized action learning leadership development programs have proven to develop leaders while simultaneously improving business outcomes.

    Are you investing in meaningful leadership development programs to help take your leaders and your business to the next level?

The Bottom Line
CEOs must rely on an executive team that functions well together. Working as a well-oiled, high performing team takes attention to what makes any team successful — clear and agreed-upon team goals, processes, behaviors, and a growth mindset.

To learn more about building a high performing leadership team, download The Top Skills for High Performing Leaders

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