Research shows that the quality of team members accounts for 20% of a firms profitability, but that the top team’s effectiveness can have a 400% bigger impact on profits than any one executive can have.
Having a high-performing executive team leads to superior marketplace performance.
Despite a wealth of talent, a highly proficient executive team with no dysfunctions or room for improvement is rare.
Why? Team members get in the way. Private agendas, fears of speaking openly and directly, protection of functional turf, personal conflicts and poor follow-through are just a few derailers of effective top team performance.
And when the top team is not truly clicking, organisational performance suffers.
We focus on attributes that drive executive team performance.
We enable top teams to make better decisions, execute strategy more effectively and click as a team.
We revitalize the top team and remove dysfunctional behaviours that to often prevent collaborative working.
As a result there is a greater level of honest conversations, silo thinking is removed, political game playing fades and is replaced by a common team purpose and the team’s best-performance culture cascades down the organisation.
Unlocking an executive team to perform at their best level requires a step-by-step process that team member's feel ownership over.
The effectiveness of a top team is dependent on how individuals and the team as a whole respond to factors such as:
1. The ‘hard’ areas, meaning strategy implementation, business priorities, market stresses, decision making, shareholder expectations and stage of growth of the business, and
2. The ‘soft’ areas such as emotional and social intelligence, and the hidden drivers of behavior and team dynamics that are too often ignored, for example personal fears and anxieties that can cause dysfunctional behaviour.
Many consulting firms shy away from the complex ‘soft’ areas due to lack of relevant psychological knowhow. Conversely, many psychologists have scant business knowledge and lack credibility with executive teams.
We tailor our approach to agreed outcomes and metrics for progress, and address both the ‘hard’ and the ‘soft’ areas. We typically adopt a double task approach, that is, we work on strategic business challenges while at the same time creating healthier team dynamics. We do this by creating a safe and reflective environment that helps facilitate meaningful conversations.
Importantly we work with clients to ensure benefits of a high-performing top team cascade down the organisation.
CEOs and Chief HR Officers who bring us in are what we term ‘organisationally savvy’ i.e., they have a highly tuned personal radar that cansense the emotions and dynamics of their top team and their organisation.
The organisations we work with tend to fall into one of these categories:
▲ The CEO wants his or her team’s culture and performance to get behind strategic priorities and make change happen.
▲ Top team members are performing well together but want to be top-tier in their sector. They ask us to help raise their already strong team performance to an even higher level.
▲ The company desires a fundamental improvement in the way leaders work together. The CEO is looking for a turnaround – initially, in the way his or her top team performs – and then, in the way the company performs. He or she believes the former change is a prerequisite for the latter.
▲ There have been several new arrivals to the executive team and the CEO wants them to gel together and create a common purpose that will allow strategic commitments to be met.
▲ A new CEO brings fresh thinking and a desire to make change happen. These CEOs know that if they and their organisation are to be successful, they need a great top team.
▲ Chairpersons of boards of directors who want their teams dynamics refreshed and enhanced, particularly with the arrival of newly appointed non-executive directors.
Examples of our assignments include:
Case 1: Although the company was performing well with annual revenue growth of nearly 15%, the CEO felt his team’s performance could be enhanced. He wanted them to collaborate better, improve the quality of their decisions and think beyond the horizon. Our diagnosis showed strong silo behaviour, lack of strategic insights and rigid thinking. In addition, team members had little awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own. Subsequent to our work, the company restructured the team’s operating practices so executives could spend more time on strategic challenges than on day-to-day tasks. In the year following the intervention, company revenues grew 15% faster than they had the previous year.
Case 2: Our assignment was to improve the effectiveness of the organisation’s top team and ensure it successfully implemented a new growth strategy. In our initial conversations with the CEO, they felt their team members were not speaking up and that the quality of debate was poor. They were not sharing their depth of sector knowledge. Our initial conversations with team members showed that they, too, felt the need for a complete refresh of how they operated as a top team. While the assignment is ongoing, the CEO and their team have increased their understanding of the drivers of top team performance and agreed on their role in the organization. In just three months, team members say they have built a tremendous amount of trust and that they had lowered their personal defenses. The company has already had quick wins in terms of greater divisional collaboration and stronger agreement on a much clearer company strategy.
Case 3: The managing director summed up his team’s problems in two words: friction and conflict. The managing director was the leader of what he termed “strong and forceful operators with strong opinions”. However, he was acutely aware that they needed to collaborate far more effectively if they were to succeed. The consequences of the team’s friction and conflict were poor execution of a new strategy and turf wars. After the team members embraced our process, they greatly reduced their friction and created an atmosphere in which they could have the challenging but not debilitating conversations that needed to take place. This work is credited with helping the company successfully execute their three-year strategy.
As a result of our work, you should feel confident your top team is performing at a level higher than your competitors.
Start the conversation:
Whether you are based in our neighbourhood in London, UK or on the other side of the world we welcome hearing from you to arrange an initial conversation. Please contact us on +44 (0)20 8878 3429, email info (at) VantageHillPartners (dot) com or click here.
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