March 2, 2012 at 6:10 am #154822
I know a leadership team that are great at their own individual operational roles but they struggle to perform strategically as a group. They don’t see the bigger picture or the connections and synergies between programs and projects.
How can I help them to increase their strategic focus and deliver outcomes for the whole organisation, not just their individual areas?
March 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm #154830
Great question – sounds like they need more vision. This seems like the type of thing not solved in the office in meetings. But perhaps a leadership team retreat or exercise on defining that vision together. Or leadership team visits a similar organization or company to learn from them.
March 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm #154828
There is a tremendous amount of complexity in this situation. The maturity of the members on the leadership team, the compensation and reward structure, your role relative to this challenge, the competency of the person responsible for this leadership team…
In a quick minute, we need more information. To form a strategy, we need to understand each of the people on the team – where are they on the leadership maturity spectrum? Are any of these leaders new to their current role? Have they made the transition I describe in Gate # 4 of the leadership pipeline, or are they having trouble with this passage?
Coaching is likely a component of the solution here. Whether it comes from a paid external source or from the leadership chain, coaching adds value. Members of the team need to be able to demonstrate knowledge of how the business works, long term strategy, tying functional activities to business goals, comfort with unfamiliar activities (not in their own function), fairness across divisions/ functions, and team trust. Don’t expect results overnight. This is a process.
A look at the rewards and compensation structure may be a component of the solution. Are these leaders compensated entirely based on performance of their individual functions, or is their compensation somehow tied to overall organization success?
A critical look at the organization structure may be a component of the solution. Do you have the right team members? Are products and services aligned to meet customer needs? Do you have coordinating mechanisms, and how are they working? Are you organized appropriately? Does your leadership team know where they are relative to competition and where the organization needs to go? Are the goals clear?
The bottom line is this: struggling to perform strategically as a group is a symptom. There may be many causes. The solution will likely span more than one area. It is the responsibility of the Business Manager (the person responsible for the entire business or organization) to understand the many factors at work; and to develop and execute a strategy for overcoming this challenge. If you’re not the Business Manager, then part of your strategy will certainly include involving him/her going forward.
March 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm #154826
Here’s another GovLoop resource you might enjoy reading:
Gordon Lee has many years experience with coaching and has links to other coaching resources you might consider sharing with the people involved in the organization you reference.
March 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm #154824
Thanks David- This is great advice and some excellent points for me to consider. The leadership pipeline is a really useful framework too.
The group is made up of people at various levels of development, but I honestly don’t know all the answers your questions. I agree it is a process and I think maybe I should start it by asking the group themselves some of these questions. This is likely to foster buy-in as well.
If you had just 4-5 key questions you could ask them, what would they be? And how would you structure the conversation – would you ask them individually first and summarise, or would you go directly to the whole group for a collective discussion? Or would you do what Steve suggests and have a retreat to allow the time to discuss the issues in a few different formats?
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