When the top team isn’t working well, the whole company suffers. How can top teams fix themselves?
The popular business press on both sides of the Atlantic is infatuated with chief executive officers who have drunk from the Holy Grail of heroic leadership. To be sure, a single person can make a difference at times, but even such heroic CEOs as General Electric’s Jack Welch emphasize the power of team leadership in action. As Welch himself said, “We’ve developed an incredibly talented team of people running our major businesses, and, perhaps more important, there’s a healthy sense of collegiality, mutual trust, and respect for performance that pervades this organization.”
Increasingly, the top team is essential to the success of the enterprise. Indeed, Welch is celebrated not only for increasing GE’s revenues nearly sevenfold in his 20-year tenure but also for building one of the world’s strongest executive talent portfolios, which has provided new leadership for many Fortune 500 companies besides GE.
So despite the obsessions of the business press, senior executives, shareholders, and boards of directors question the myth of heroic leadership. Merely bringing in a new CEO to reshape an organization will tend to show mixed results; in the consumer goods companies analyzed in Exhibit 1, for example, they were always worse after the arrival of a new CEO. In reality, long-term success depends on the whole leadership team, for it has a broader and deeper reach into the organization than the CEO does, and its performance has a multiplier effect: a poorly performing team breeds competing agendas and turf politics; a high-performing one, organizational coherence and focus.
Often, however, the leadership team is at best a collection of strong individuals who sometimes work at cross-purposes. What does it take for senior managers to gel as a team? Our work with more than a score of top teams, involving upward of 500 executives in diverse private- and public-sector organizations, suggests a straightforward process for enhancing their performance.
The most effective teams, focusing initially on working together, get early results in their efforts to deal with important business issues and then reflect together on the manner in which they did so, thus discovering how to function as a team. Formal team-building retreats are rare; behavioral interventions and facilitated workshops, though sometimes helpful, are not central to the effort of team building. Top teams address business performance issues directly but behavioral issues only indirectly and after the event.
A second myth of leadership, as pervasive as the myth of the heroic CEO, is the idea that seasoned managers slotted into an organizational chart can easily function as a team. In reality, top teams face many problems: finding the right people, matching the available skills to the job, and learning to work together without taking the time to craft roles. Teams don’t magically coalesce overnight. Their members have to be close in the professional rather than personal sense; they can thrive in an atmosphere of conflict if it is managed to increase creative output and to catalyze change. Becoming a top-performing top team must be one of the team’s goals.
To meet that goal, teams have to master three dimensions of performance. First, they require a common direction: a shared understanding of goals and values. Second, skills of interaction are crucial if the team is to go beyond individual expertise to solve complex problems and, equally, if it is to withstand the scrutiny of the rest of the organization, for people usually take their cues from the top. Finally, top teams must always be able to renew themselves—to expand their capabilities in response to change.
One reason for the difficulty of improving a team’s performance is that interaction, direction, and renewal are interdependent—teams need to go forward simultaneously on all three fronts to make real progress (Exhibit 2). It isn’t surprising, for instance, that top teams interact poorly when they don’t have a common direction. By contrast, enhanced performance in one dimension not only reinforces the improvement in others but also provides for the genuine personal development that builds success.Exhibit 2
Suppose, for example, the team believes that it must build trust among its members. It rarely helps to have self-conscious discussions or “sharing” exercises about keeping or breaching trust, an approach that may actually be quite destructive. But by working together to sharpen the sense of strategic direction—and in this way experiencing successful interactions—the team can indirectly, but often dramatically, improve its effectiveness and thus the feeling of trust among its members. In effect, the team exploits its strong reasoning abilities to build trust.
Identifying real problems
Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same can be said of underperforming teams. Nonetheless, there are typical warning signs in each of the three dimensions of team performance.
Many CEOs assume that they and their top teams share a common understanding of corporate goals and values. Formal descriptions of roles, expected conduct, and corporate strategies and plans all reinforce this assumption, but several realities undermine it.Lack of alignment. Executives may nod their heads when the CEO propounds a vision, but the team often lacks a shared view of how to implement it. At one well-known energy company, the five executives of a top team were asked to list the company’s 10 highest priorities. Alarmingly, they listed a total of 23 priorities; only 2 appeared on every executive’s list and only 7 on the lists of more than three members; indeed 13 of the 23 priorities appeared on only one list. In other cases, the team doesn’t agree about how performance should be assessed, who the company’s top performers are, or how to motivate the organization to achieve its stated objectives.
Lack of deep understanding. In some cases, the top team agrees on plans, but subsequent actions are inconsistent with its decisions. This problem reflects the tendency of top teams to focus on making decisions without examining the assumptions, the criteria, and the rationales behind them.
Lack of strategic focus. Top teams without a common direction spend more time on business as usual and on “firefighting” than on seeking out and doing the work only they can do—work that is important to the organization and gives the team as a whole an opportunity to add value. A focused team concentrates on developing talent within the organization and on driving major growth initiatives; an unfocused team second-guesses line-management decisions, reruns analyses, and immerses itself in detail. Half of the executives we interviewed believed that they failed to add value in much of their work.
Many management teams pay lip service to the importance of interaction but foster a working style that inhibits candid communication and collaboration.
Poor dialogue. Although the members of a team may spend much time talking to one another, they can often fail to communicate, by withholding vital information, suppressing critical opinions, or accepting questionable strategies out of fear of retaliation. These games lead not only to frustration but also to hidden agendas—problems that may stem from mistrust if individual team members don’t know one another or organizational units have a history of conflict. According to 65 percent of the respondents in our top-team database, trust was a real issue for their teams.
Dysfunctional behavior. Often the most serious result of poor dialogue is an inability to capitalize on diverse viewpoints and backgrounds, thus reducing the team’s ability to work creatively and adapt to changes in the market. And like any group of people, top teams can fall into destructive practices—for instance, the public humiliation of team members. Such behavior understandably creates fear and defensiveness and can intensify problems by isolating and scapegoating individual team members. Because the top team’s conduct is mimicked lower down in the organization, this kind of behavior can come to pervade it.
An inability to renewAlthough many top teams recognize the importance of organizational renewal, few of them institute processes that revitalize effort and commitment. Three problems can make it hard for members of a team to step back and honestly assess their own performance. These problems often have their origin in the team members’ experience as middle managers. Most executives have climbed functional silos and are accustomed to defending their organizational turf. It is often difficult for such people to make the leap to broad strategic issues that have a bottom-line impact. Frequently, executives also can’t adapt their leadership style to life at the top, where interactions tend to be shorter, more frequent, less prepared, and aimed at a wider and more diverse audience.
Personal dissatisfaction. Many team members, despite their apparently successful careers and enviable positions, have become frustrated or insufficiently challenged by their work. A quarter of our respondents said that their jobs didn’t stretch them. Collectively and individually, team members ignore new sources of insight, information, and experience that could push them out of their comfort zone. The teams we have observed engaging in destructive politics usually discourage their members from assuming new roles or taking risks. As a result, these executives ultimately become bored, and their performance declines; hence, the typical CEO complaint that once-solid team members no longer energize others or adapt to changing needs.
Insularity. Top teams rarely pay enough attention to information from outside their companies or industries—information that, digested quickly, could influence key strategic and organizational decisions. In addition, top teams seldom make the time to reflect on the information they do receive and to assess its future impact. Lacking structured processes to receive and reflect upon information from external sources, most teams don’t find the time to generate a real strategic focus.
Deficient individual skills. Most companies give the members of their top teams little mentoring or coaching about how to effect change. Unlike middle managers, who frequently get broad training and coaching, senior managers usually work without a safety net and, frequently, without a second chance. Among the executives we surveyed, 80 percent believed that they had the necessary skills to fulfill their role, but only 30 percent believed that all of their colleagues did.
Becoming a top team
How can a company set about improving the performance of its top team? Our research points to some useful strategies for promoting effective action, reflection, and cohesion.
How it works
Many behavioral team-improvement efforts fail because they don’t speak to the needs of top managers: programmed exercises, for instance, seem artificial. Our work with top teams suggests four ways to build their performance by replicating the way senior executives actually work together.A case study
Creating a new organizational structure does little to improve a company’s performance if the top team can’t work together effectively. One dysfunctional top team ran a fast-growing UK industrial company trying to launch a new growth strategy. The company replaced its centralized functional silos with semi-autonomous business units led by a smaller top team. At first, the new organization seemed to be taking shape, but months after its formation the CEO saw that the senior team was struggling to manage the performance of the company’s business units, to respond to crises, and to develop a corporate strategy. He feared that the team’s lackluster performance would hold back the rest of the organization. A quick survey of managers a level below the top team confirmed his fears: the top team, it appeared, was “running behind,” “stuck in old behavior,” and “generally not very helpful.”
How could the performance of the senior team be improved quickly without reverting to the command-and-control system? The CEO felt that the team was missing important opportunities to expand the business while focusing on trivial issues. Further, he wondered why only half of the team participated in debate and whether the others had no opinion or were simply afraid to argue their own points of view.
After reviewing the feedback from the leaders of business units, the top team began the process of improvement by acknowledging that it needed to change its approach, and quickly. As a next step, the members of the team identified their top ten priorities—and discovered a range of conflicting views. The team tried to sort these priorities and to define a common strategy. Meanwhile, a facilitator observed the team at work and later interviewed its members at length. Thus, their poor interaction was added to the range of issues under consideration.
The team committed itself to monthly one-day sessions focusing on major strategic issues, and the facilitator tracked its progress on interaction. These sessions addressed a series of topics—talent, strategy, performance, growth—that stretched the team’s thinking and opened new opportunities for the company. Between sessions, subgroups of two or three members worked on issues for the full team to debate and resolve.
Over a three-month period, there was an improvement in all three dimensions of team performance:
A common direction
The team members were much more explicit about their individual and collective roles, including responsibilities and behavior. They also reached consensus on a number of business fundamentals: strategy, performance, people, and organization. As a result, the top team now plays a much more active role in leading the corporate strategy.
More effective interaction
The quality of the team’s debate and decision making rose dramatically. Individual members of the team could take risks with one another, exposing their previously hidden agendas and making their dialogue more honest, because the level of trust had risen substantially. The result was wider participation, more constructive debate, greater excitement, and more creative output.
Active renewal processes
To inject new ideas and fresh perspectives, the top team looked for outside sources of information and developed a variety of scenarios about its industry. It also increased its effectiveness through individual coaching of members as well as by recruiting a new member from outside the company.
“I can’t imagine going back to the way we were before,” the CEO said. “Not just the old structure but the old way of working. Our modus operandi is just fundamentally different. Almost everyone participates; the atmosphere is more relaxed yet at the same time more openly challenging. I especially appreciate the value of our reflective working sessions, which give us a chance to step back and make sure we are not missing the big picture.”
Address a number of initiatives concurrently. The top team must focus on the most pressing issues—work that only it can do. Achieving tangible outcomes in a variety of management challenges is essential. The activities most likely to foster team action and reflection include framing strategy, managing performance, managing stakeholders, and reviewing top talent. The team really needs to do these things whether or not its members are attempting to improve their own performance as a team. The action element of the cycle improves the direction of the organization and its ability to renew itself, while reflection makes it possible for teams to discover ways of improving their interaction.Channel the team’s discontent. Only 20 percent of the executives we surveyed thought their team was a high-performing one. Successful teams invite external challenges, focus on competitive threats, and judge themselves by best practice, since comparisons with industry leaders or key competitors raise the quality of debate by putting facts on the table.Minimize outside intrusions. It is hard for a team to execute an improvement process by itself; some form of facilitation is usually required. Consultants or coaches should observe top teams at work rather than lead meetings or presentations. They should never try to direct the team’s work. Finally, they should ensure that real work dominates the improvement process. Teams must discover what is effective for them. Merely telling a team the solution to its problems reinforces the poor quality of its alignment and interaction.Encourage inquiry and reflection. More than 80 percent of the executives we surveyed said that they didn’t set aside enough time for analyzing the root causes of problems. These executives believe that instead of developing rules of thumb slowly and subconsciously, they should use their business experience to draw lessons. Most senior business executives took a decade or more to develop their business judgment, but with the tenure of CEOs becoming shorter as investors’ expectations rise, most top teams just cannot wait years to improve their performance. Facilitating team cycles of action and reflection—accelerating the pace of change and making the process of discovery explicit—can have a significant effect in as quickly as three months.
What it looks like
On the face of it, a top team going through the performance improvement process resembles any other top team at work. As usual, CEOs and senior executives address a number of strands of business, but they focus on major strategic issues and work together as colleagues rather than delegate tasks to staffers, consultants, or individual team members. At a minimum, the entire top team should spend one day each month together, without staffers, doing real work as a team. Subgroups of two or three members should work together a couple of times a week on every issue the team is addressing and should probably spend some time with a facilitator as well.
Teams rarely manage to improve their performance wholly outside their active working environment, so short-term workshops, no matter how attractive the setting or how heart-felt and candid the members’ exchanges may be, aren’t likely to change their mode of working. Structured self-discovery and reflection must be combined with decision making and action in the real world; the constant interplay among these elements over time is what creates lasting change.
Why it works
Teamwork is a pragmatic enterprise that grows from tangible achievements. The action-reflection cycle—supported by improved direction, interaction, and renewal—complements the work style of most senior teams. First, this approach pushes them to address their own performance just as directly and forcefully as they would address other business performance issues. By doing real work on important problems and applying business judgment to reflect on that work, top teams jump-start their performance and satisfy their need for visible progress.
Second, taking an oblique approach to sensitive performance issues allows top teams to address their behavior after the event, without personal confrontations. Team members discover that alternative points of view are valid, that the CEO doesn’t have all the ideas the company needs for success, and that the team can be both challenging and supportive at the same time. This paradoxical combination—the indirect assessment of team behavior through direct work on critical issues—allows top teams to manage their own performance. Before investing time and resources in programs to build the top team, leaders should ensure that such efforts deal with its real work.
Teams must assess their own performance regularly and honestly. Every senior team should also dedicate several working sessions a year to issues—such as technology, changing demographics, political and environmental pressures, and emerging themes from management literature—that have little bearing on the next quarter but could reshape the enterprise and the team itself during the next five years. Teams should also explore unexpected successes and interesting failures inside and outside their organizations. They ought to travel, both physically and intellectually, outside their own regions and industries to companies that have tackled challenges similar to their own.
In doing all this, teams should pay attention to the consistency of their leadership, the quality of their interaction, and their opportunities for renewal. They must also build into their work processes ample time to reflect on the deeper causes of problems, on the areas where they can add the most value as a team, and on the quality of their past decisions. It is the process of discovering the best way for the members of the team to work together that ensures the absorption of basic behavioral lessons.
The prize for building effective top teams is clear: they develop better strategies, perform more consistently, and increase the confidence of stakeholders. They get positive results—and make the work itself a more positive experience both for the team’s members and for the people they lead.
About the author(s)
Erika Herb is a consultant in McKinsey’s London office, where Keith Leslie and Colin Price are principals.
In working with top teams, the authors have applied the direction-interaction-renewal framework originally developed in the trailblazing work of Michael Jung and other McKinsey colleagues in the leadership and organization practice. The authors gratefully acknowledge their contributions.
McKinsey Quarterly – May 2001
NHL Stenden – Hospitality Management Leeuwarden The Netherlands Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the degree Program Lone ranger of Business Administration (Hospitality Management)Abstract Part 1 Introduction Part 1.1 of the exploration depicts and clarifies the unique situation, issue portrayal and the reason and significance of the picked theme. After the presentation of the subject, the writing survey is investigated. Applicable sources and results of the examination are utilized, looked at and set up together in the finish of the writing audit. The last piece of the presentation incorporates the theoretical model and the task definition. Part 1.1 Topic Description and Context This examination is about the key components that should be executed to increase long haul support from supporters of outsider activities. It is significant for magnanimous associations to have long haul support and basic givers. Foundations are subject to long haul support. Long haul bolster implies a connection between War Child and the Friend for in any event one year. A basic benefactor is called Friend at War Child. In the primary year, there is a ton of weight and weakness between the two gatherings. There is a first year approach for Friends to get them in contact with War Child to turn into a long haul Friend. Following one year it is resolved that the relationship is never again constrained by the enlistment channel yet by the association between War Child and the Friend. War Child has various wellsprings of pay. The gathering ”supporters of outsider activities” alludes to the division Actions at War Child. This division gets their salary due to gathering pledges exercises done by the populace. These gathering pledges exercises are particularly done in the Netherlands. A genuine case of a raising money activity is the Kili Challenge. The Kili challenge was built up in 2015. The trip happens in Tanzania, at the Kilimanjaro, the most noteworthy heap of Africa with a stature of 5895 meters. Pledge drives are raising however much as could be expected their way to the top to help youngsters in war circumstances. During this procedure, activity supporters are exceptionally essential. The base measure of gathering pledges cash that should be come to before climbing the Kilimanjaro is 2400 euros. To accomplish this objective, pledge drives are designing a variety of exercises whereby activity supporters can give. Without activity supporters, there will be no Kili challenge (Holland, 2018) This report will examine the various gatherings that help activities done by the pledge drives of War Child. The examination depends on field inquire about on the grounds that it concerns a gathering which has never been concentrated by War Child. The supporters of outsider activities create an all out pay of €12.979.925,97 with 9233 raise money actions.This investigate is vital for the future since this gathering is a botched chance. Working with this gathering will build the income of War Child. The analyst needs to break down the capability of the various gatherings utilizing statistic, financial and psychographic factors. (Lee and Chang, 2007) Statistic and financial factors are factors, for example, age, sex, salary, life-cycle organize, religion, ethnicity and age. These factors are useful to show the profile of individuals who are giving at raising support activities. Psychographic factors are factors, for example, social class, way of life and character. (Kotler, 2014) 1.1.1 Problem depiction The issue which this examination distinguishes is the botched chance of not arriving at the gathering ”Supporters of outsider activities” and the absence of connection with this gathering. At the point when a pledge drive sets up an activity, the pledge drive will get a ton of reaction, love and backing. The way War Child interfaces with the pledge drive, will give the pledge drive inspiration to gather a higher measure of cash whereby pledge drives will get faithful to the association. As of now, War Child isn’t successfully reach, get some information about encounters or offer help to the activity supporter. The association is missing cooperation and transformation with the ”Supporters of outsider activities”. There are a ton of approaches to get connection with this gathering to expand the income. The issue can be portrayed as the botched opportunity of not arriving at the supporters of outsider activities. The issue happens toward the finish of the activity procedure. The last advance is the point at which the activity supporter is giving a gift to the activity pledge drive. After this, there is no further approach for an activity supporter. The results of this issue are that there is less salary and less consumer loyalty. Utilizing an appropriate methodology will make the activity supporter activated to help War Child. A case of a straightforward initial step for an appropriate methodology is sending an email. The email will take the consideration of the supporter. The specialist needs to utilize the email to stimulate enthusiasm to get want to help kids in war circumstances. Furthermore, the last advance of the AIDA model is to get them very spurred to move them vigorously by turning into a long haul giver or an activity pledge drive. (Rawal, 2013) The gathering has high potential since they can be come to effectively and it might result into long haul contributor transport. The analyst will get some information about their experience and client venture while supporting activities. 1.1.2 Purpose and importance of the examination This investigation depends on the inquiry: how to increase long haul support from activity supporters who give at outsider activities and what vital components should be actualized. The most significant reasons why this exploration will be done is the pay and consumer loyalty. As referenced before, the issue is the botched opportunity of not arriving at the supporters of outsider activities. Not arriving at the supporters of outsider activities, will bring about a lower pay and the supporters won’t be excited to do anything for War Child once more. It is significant that everybody is getting a correct inclination about the association. Magnanimous associations can’t manage the cost of terrible surveys. It is essential to have high consumer loyalty to urge activity supporters to move without hesitation. The inside objective of this exploration is to become more acquainted with the gathering ”Supporters of outsider activities”. The specialist needs to become more acquainted with the musings and encounters about giving a gift to War Child and needs to become acquainted with the reason why they are supporting War Child. This will be done to see which gatherings have the most potential to be beneficial. Utilizing the gatherings with the most potential, the outside objective can be cultivated, which is getting long haul support from supporters of outsider activities. The specialist needs to assist the association with the change and client voyage to increase long haul backing and devotion from the activity supporters. Part 1.2 Literature audit To make sense of how War Child can improve their methodology with activity supporters, a few themes are considered. With a reasonable methodology for activity supporters, the salary and consumer loyalty will increment. From the outset, it is imperative to find out about the work War Child is doing and reasons why individuals give to philanthropy. This carries us to the principal subject, magnanimous associations and beneficent giving. Different subjects that will be considered in the writing audit to help War Child improve their methodology will be: change, dedication, client relationship the board, client venture, lifetime worth and promoting procedures. 1.2.1 Charitable associations and altruistic giving Altruistic associations and beneficent giving are significant subjects to comprehend the full point of this exploration. This piece of the writing survey will give some broad data about these two subjects and crafted by War Child. An altruistic association is arranged as a NPO (non-benefit association). NPO’s can be private just as open. Open associations are called philanthropies or associations. War Child is an open association, which implies that they produce their assets from the administration, people and associations. War Child can be expressed as a worldwide non-legislative association which is free and impartial.The goals to be a magnanimous association can be founded on strict intrigue exercises, instructive intrigue exercises or even dependent on open intrigue exercises. The nation and district where the philanthropy has been set up and where they work chooses which laws and guidelines will be applied. (Establishment, 2018) Beneficent associations are built up to assistance individuals who are deprived with giving them asylum, nourishments and different necessities of life. There are many individuals around the globe in threat, for instance because of war. War Child ensures, teaches and goes to bat for the privileges of youngsters in war circumstances. On the off chance that kids are not given instruction, there will be an expansion of lack of education just as neediness. (UK, 2018 ) War Child comprehends the requirements of kids and regards their privileges. The necessities and privileges of kids are considered as first need at all that they do. War Child’s center gathering are youngsters however another significant gathering are youngsters. War Child encourages them to change frameworks and practices that influence them. The four fundamental regions War Child works in are: insurance, training, jobs and backing. (UK, 2018 ) To work in these four regions, War Child needs salary. One of the most significant wellsprings of pay War Child has, are altruistic gifts. Magnanimous gifts in the philanthropy division can be expressed as a blessing that is made by an association or individual to a philanthropy association. The blessing is for the most part in type of money or direct charge yet it additionally can be in land for instance. (Belanstingdienst, 2005) The City University of London Institutional Repository has done research about beneficent giving. The college has done researc>GET ANSWER Let’s block ads! (Why?)