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Increase the Effectiveness of Your Executive Team

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Executive teams play 2 critical roles in an organization.

The first is obvious: They provide strategic and operational leadership to the company. They set goals, develop strategy, and ensure the strategy is executed effectively.

The second is less obvious, but just as important. The executive team provides the organizational and cultural DNA for the company. How well the executive team functions as a collective leadership body and how its members interact serves as the model that teams throughout the organization will follow.

Executive Team Effectiveness

You could fill entire libraries with the books and studies written about strategy and operations. But the second role of the executive team gets less press. Because it receives relatively little attention, team effectiveness can be the basis of a significant competitive advantage for companies who get it right.

In our recent survey of senior executives, 65% indicated their executive teams were experiencing a clash between functional and enterprise accountabilities. But fewer than 1 in 5 rated their executive teams as “very effective.”

In the same survey, nearly all executives agreed that increasing the effectiveness of their executive team would have a positive impact on organizational results.

In other words, when the executive team functions better, the whole organization functions better.

The Best Executive Teams Have These 3 Things

The best executive teams are characterized by 3 vital threads that run through everything they do.

  • Strategic focus. Effective executive teams establish a vision for the organization and invest considerable time and energy at the strategic level. They balance risk and innovation, anticipate future needs and opportunities, and seek to ensure the organization’s sustainability.
  • Collective approach. Top-performing executive teams work together, taking an enterprise-wide view of their individual and team functions. They model for the entire organization ways to break down silos and develop solutions to business problems together. Individuals on top-performing executive teams prioritize the interests of the organization over individual gains.
  • Team interaction. Finally, the best executive teams are intentional in their interactions. They value their differences, listen and communicate well, seek input from each other, and trust and respect one another. These behaviors make teams more effective. Crucially, they also model for the rest of the enterprise what team interactions should look like.

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