Leaders often fall into some traps while orchestrating their meetings with their executive team. Holding a meeting to discuss how great they are and how well things are going (whether they really are or not) makes for a pointless meeting. Holding a meeting with everyone leaving the meeting with more to do than when it started is a show stopper. The point of a meeting is to make decisions, not load everyone up with a longer to do list! Jeff Bezos of Amazon recently said that if he makes three high-quality decisions a day he has fulfilled his CEO responsibility.
A great deal more value can be derived by following three ways of building leadership, but it takes a concerted effort to prepare for, cultivate and develop with all team members. Efforts to build a high-performing executive team is well-spent because once accomplished the executive team is able to execute with true clarity and harmonized purpose.
The three ways to build leadership are actually quite simple and easy to learn. The difficult part is consistently putting them into practice.
- Provide a consistent point of accountability using peer-to-peer accountability as the basis. When a senior leader puts before his or her executive team a plan and regularly reviews it with them the team becomes more integrated in thought and action. Reminding the team of what is truly important and pursuing all initiatives and tasks from that lens further unites the team. Senior leaders often place too little importance on reminding their team of what is most important. They think they should understand it, but the fact is most people need to be reminded far more than educated on new things.
- Provide a singularity of purpose so the executive team understands what the organization as a whole seeks to accomplish and how it is going. This provides each leader and in turn their teams with an understanding of what they have been assigned to accomplish. This type of consistent feedback provides both individual team members with an improved understanding of how they are doing while also providing greater clarity to the entire team. When people know what they are to do and that it is appreciated they outperform teams that live in a shadow of doubt.
- Provide a primary goal to accomplish such as developing a new idea, gaining funding for a special purpose or adding a new best practice to every day operations to help build a unique culture. When a team has 10 or more goals it’s relatively easy for team members to hide behind their complexity and lack of clarity. Whereas, when a team has one primary goal to accomplish there is nowhere for team members to hide. This creates a healthy dose of transparency that is evident to all team members. This is motivating because no one likes to fail, particularly not in a public setting.
It takes a conscientious and cultivating effort by a senior leader to build a high-performance team. Sometimes it requires a change in leadership style and it requires that everyone remain committed to each other and their primary purpose while working together. More can be accomplished by a united team of 12 than 12 individuals working on their particular initiatives.