Your organization has a quality problem; maybe the processes in place need a reboot.
Your turnover rate is higher than it used to be; you sense that morale has dropped and the culture has become overly political.
Your bottom line is suffering; perhaps your marketing and sales efforts need to be reevaluated.
ALIGNMENT – THE ROOT CAUSE
Or maybe none of these are the real causes for the problems you are having. Trinitas believes that leadership team alignment is the most important driver of an organization’s success. And the lack of full leadership team alignment is ultimately the root cause of many business performance shortcomings.
Read more about how Trinitas thinks about root causes here.
But these pains can be turned into gains if your leadership team is aligned and equipped to move the organization in the right direction. And it starts with trust.
TRUST BUT VERIFY
All healthy relationships are built on trust. But trust is hard to earn and hard to give, and if we trust too readily we can be taken… and if we don’t trust at all, we cannot do anything together.
Steven Covey suggests an approach called “smart trust.” This happens when there are controls. For example, eBay is made up of strangers, yet the processes and protections allow those strangers to collaborate, resulting in a million transactions every day.
FAILING OR SUCCEEDING?
Members of an under-performing leadership team need to do more than feign agreement when working together; they need to share purpose, values, and goals in a supportive climate to change their level of performance and they need to share their own points of view in a vulnerable way to gain the trust of others. Without trust, human beings will second guess each other, compete when they should be cooperating, and miss opportunities to find shared success. The organization suffers, but often without knowing how their leaders’ relationships are negatively impacting their chances for success.
Members of a winning leadership team have got each others’ backs. They radiate a positive culture throughout the organization because they work hard to support that culture among their peers. They encourage courageous behavior in each other and, in the process, take full accountability for the organization’s success as they look for opportunities to:
- See where they are stuck and get “unstuck”
- Support one another – by challenging each other
- Encourage the innovation that leads to growth
- Push each other to be less comfortable, more adventurous, and more open to change
None of these opportunities would be possible if the organization’s leaders did not trust each other completely. Here’s a real-world example:
An organization is losing money because its processes are weak and allow for rework, miscommunication, and low accountability. An aligned leadership team would tackle the issue and discover that its technology is old and is making it tough for its mobile workforce to work at its peak. Without trust, just imagine the finger pointing and political positioning one might see. After all, the corrective action takes time and is costly.
MCG Partners In the UK, identifies the four C’s of an aligned team:
Commitment: more than compliance; leaders help each other and focus on collective success
Connection: leaders communicate in an open and vulnerable way … and believe that they are working toward genuine understanding
Content: communication and messaging are consistent and motivating for all in the organization – only possible if leaders are aligned
Controls: processes (systems and norms ) are in place to allow for constructive debate and challenges to thinking
Ask yourself if your leaders would write down the same things if asked to list the organization’s top priorities. If you are not sure, then you need to find a way to be sure. If you are the CEO, you need a leadership team that is aligned… that displays the trust needed to make tough choices for the good of the organization.
Too many leadership teams – lack alignment. Further, they don’t know why. The leadership team that engages in direct and honest communication with each other is made up of people who demonstrate trust , and is aligned and focused on the right priorities.