Functional Leadership Teams

The senior management team is the social and cultural engine that drives organization performance. Senior teams juggle and resolve a myriad of issues like strategy formulation, productivity improvement, changing markets, competition, innovation, quality, and talent management. Yet to succeed in the market place today, senior teams have to collaborate, share information across silos, make collaborative decisions and solve big problems. In order to do this, members of senior leadership teams need to communicate easily, constantly share information, and develop a high level of trust. They need to know each other’s needs and styles, and to be cohesive and aligned around common goals.

However, many things stand in the way and threaten the ability of senior teams to work well. Time pressures, incentive systems that reward individual success, egos and other demands often cause members to isolate themselves and become defensive rather that synergistic. Members end up talking to others only when a problem has fully blossomed into a crisis. What our organization observes in most senior teams is a group of high- performing individuals who haven’t learned how to be a high-performing team.

In reality most good business ideas are generated when senior members exchange information openly, engage in robust dialogue, proactively address problems and work through conflicts. Many experts on Wall Street and in the Government rank the quality of an organization’s management team above its strategy in terms of impact on long-term success. Essentially, a great team with a questionable strategic plan will outperform the best plan in the hands of a leadership team that is dysfunctional. A great team that works in unison can adjust to changing circumstances and turn problems into opportunities; but it takes creativity and a flexible cohesive team.

A highly functional leadership team is the heart of every successful organization. These teams maintain a high level of performance in order to grow the business and compete in the marketplace. Building a cohesive leadership team whose members are aligned, supportive, and creative can be a tall order. All too often, senior leaders revert to their functional silos and focus on their own interests. Sometimes their egos, conflicts over strategy, and incentive systems cause isolation, infighting, and destructive competition. CMOE offers tailor made solutions and opportunities for these leaders to come together, breakdown silos, collectively solve problems, develop strategies, tackle conflicts, and figure out how to grow the business.

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About the Author

Steven Stowell, Ph.D.

Dr. Steven J. Stowell is the Founder and President of the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness, Inc. CMOE was created in 1978 for the purpose of helping individuals and teams maximize their effectiveness and create strategic competitiveness. Steve’s special interests lie in helping leaders and organizations transform into high-performance cultures that are focused on long-term, sustained growth. Steve began his career working in the energy industry. During the past 30 years, Steve has consulted with both small and large corporations, government agencies, school systems, and non-profit organizations in 35 different countries. Steve enjoys the challenges of • Helping functional organizations define, create, and execute strategy in order to differentiate the business. • Developing and designing creative and innovative learning experiences, simulations, and keynote presentations. • Helping functions across the organization be more effective and aligned in executing long-term plans. The centerpiece of Steve’s consulting, learning, and executive coaching work is his advocacy of applied research and data collection. Steve is a highly effective presenter and facilitator and enjoys creating customized solutions, assisting senior teams, defining strategic direction from the individual level to the corporate and business-unit level, and improving teams that are faced with important challenges and issues.