Is your leadership team thriving or surviving?

We live in a world where the pace of change is relentless and organisations are under extreme pressure to live up to the expectations of a multitude of stakeholders, from customers and shareholders to governments and staff. Undoubtedly, it’s the leadership team that is instrumental in managing these pressures and making the organisation a success – it’s a tough job and getting tougher by the day.

In Pecan’s work we are asked to help transform organisational culture to become more agile and customer focused – and in doing so, more effectively respond to these pressures. In supporting these organisations, we often ask ourselves “How could we have made more difference more quickly?”. And the answer is frequently “More focused time working with the leaders of the organisation as individuals and as a team”.

Given that up to 80% of organisational culture is created by the leaders, our conclusion is not surprising.

At their best, leadership teams offer each other equal measures of support and challenge in moving together in one direction. At worst, they are places of mistrust and personal agendas, each individual steering their own course. Whichever reality your team lies closest to, make no mistake that this will be replicated across the organisation.

The challenge is that senior teams are generally extremely time poor with multiple demands on their attention and energy. They are already at maximum capacity. But making serious and sustained change does require the senior team to give it the right amount of attention. You can’t delegate organisational change, it has to be led and role modelled for it to be credible and sustained.

A common approach is to provide leadership development courses or ad-hoc individual coaching. Certainly, executive coaching is increasingly gaining traction in the workplace with advocates reporting increased clarity and self-awareness, solutions-focused thinking and resilience.

Yet not everyone is a fan of individual coaching – some people see coaching as ‘fluffy’, indulgent and too focused on the needs of the individual in isolation from the needs of the organisation which is funding it in the first place.

This view has some validity; imagine Pep Guardiola and his coaches working with each of the Manchester City squad members as individuals but doing nothing as a team and then hoping it all works out on the pitch!

Experience tells us that to achieve peak performance you need both individual and team coaching; a combination that is effective in its ability to shift behaviours, and catalytic in its ability to make change happen, quickly.

The most common leadership team challenges that we see include:

  • Lack of clarity or commitment to the company strategy and direction
  • Low levels of trust
  • Very high levels or conversely a complete absence of conflict
  • Slow decision-making
  • Little accountability

Our experience shows that these can all be addressed and improved through a blend of team and individual coaching. That’s why we use a 100 Day Transformation Programme. It works because it caters to both the individual and the team, ensuring that everyone is working to the same direction. In a world where the next big thing becomes yesterday’s news, time is everything, and this approach stimulates change very quickly.

It delivers on four fronts:

  • Galvanises senior teams to lead significant change in a short period of time
  • Enables leaders to be the change they want to see and achieve measurable outcomes via focused teamwork
  • Develops a ‘can do’, high-performance culture
  • Establishes the conditions for the rest of the organisation to raise the bar

At the risk of overplaying the football analogy, it’s a bit like the squad hitting top form in the run up to the Champions League final.

If time is precious and pressure is mounting, kickstart your leadership team to be the best it can be in little more than 3 months.

Image: Pascal Swier, unsplash.com
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