As a CEO, you may be tempted to believe that your Executive Team is a well-oiled, high performing machine. After all, you had significant influence on its membership, whether having hired everyone or at least vetted those you inherited when you started. Your team meetings have good agendas, everyone shows up, there’s little open warfare, and you feel confident that your communications are clear and hitting the mark. Everything is smooth sailing.
But is it really?
On the surface, most Executive Teams appear to be functional. Yet this is often not the case, especially when you know what to look for that indicates your team is rowing in different directions. Or, as we say in the consulting vernacular, your team is misaligned.
Signs and Symptoms
If I’ve planted a seed of doubt, here are a few things to look for to confirm your concerns of misalignment:
- Team members are polite – too polite. There is a formality that prevents conversations from going beyond the surface.
- There is no debate or dissention during your team meetings. Everyone nods in agreement and leaves the meeting quietly.
- There IS debate and dissention during meetings but it is personal and not productive.
- Team meetings result in no action. The same topics and issues are discussed but never resolved.
- The real meeting(s) happen behind closed doors, before or after your Executive Team meetings. Water cooler conversations come to a halt when you come in the room.
- Staff below the Executive Team seem to lack a sense of purpose and direction.
- The organization is failing to execute on the strategic plan and results are suffering.
Misalignment results from many different causes, including:
- No distinct mission or vision guiding the organization
- Unclear or non-existent performance goals and objectives
- Poorly defined team member roles and accountabilities
- Wrong players on the team
- Lack of team norms and operating procedures
- Low to no trust amongst team members
Before a cure can be determined, the true cause(s) of misalignment must be identified. Following this, the team determines what alignment/high performance looks like. From there, a plan (the cure) is developed to help the team achieve its desired state.
As you wouldn’t self-diagnose an illness or prescribe a cure without understanding the cause, it is best to seek out professional guidance to help you get your team back on track. Contact The Bailey Group – we are well versed in team alignment and development. And while this may be your first team, we’ve helped hundreds.