It’s not unusual to hear CEOs say they don’t feel their management team is working with them to improve performance. Is also common to find management teams divided into two or three factions and to hear employees complain about different receiving conflicting instructions from different members of the management team.
In reality, just as any boss casts his own profile into the organisation he manages, the same happens with the management team. I have worked with more than a hundred companies and organisations and, most of the time, after meeting the management team and seeing how they interact and make decisions, I know exactly what I’ll find on the floor.
So, one of the most important and determinant factors in achieving a world class organisation is to have a high performance management team.
In order to transform a management team into a high performance management team it’s necessary to work on certain key aspects of the team and its members. Only by working with both the group and the individuals can we achieve a real team, taking maximum advantage of their individual talents, enhancing the team spirit and thus improving the business or organization in an extraordinary way. Achieving a high performance management team may at first seem complicated and unattainable. However, it requires intervention injust five key aspects. And, it needn’t require a huge financial outlay. A high performance management team programme creates a very significant effect with a proportionally small investment. Brief,well coordinated and directed interventions will have a great impact on the work of the organization and its results.
1. Team spirit Managers can quickly learn that their best allies are their peers. By promoting active listening and cooperative negotiation, we develop high level of collaboration and understanding of each other’s needs. If the team is divided it needs to be transformed into a coherent and consensual team in its plurality. A company where contradicting messages are rife must be changed into a company with a single voice and supported by systems, procedures and processes defined and clear.
2. Leadership as a team and as managers The management team as an entity should be the natural leader of the company. With the implementation of a high performance management team, the team is perceived in the organization as a separate entity from its members. This entity speak with one voice, is respected and has a decisive influence on the work of all employees in all areas of the company. Grey areas disappear and the result is a committed workforce. Managers must also be perceived as natural leaders, regardless of their status in the organization and membership of the management team. The fact that there is only “one voice” should not undermine that perception, but, on the contrary, promote it. It is essential to ensure that managers have skills to motivate, lead and engage their employees.
3, Shared Vision and Strategy It doesn’t matter much who defines the strategy. What matters it is that managers share and execute it with the belief that is the best for the company and for them. In my professional life, I have met too many executives that were unconvinced or directly fighting against the corporate strategy, convinced that were doing something good for the organization. That is an untenable situation for the overall performance of the organization. The management team must know, evaluate and adopt the strategy defined.
4. Consensual Management Style Managers are role models for all employees. It’s impossible to avoid this and very easy to corroborate. Find a disorganized manager and you will find a disorganized area. A manager who is impulsive and has trouble controlling his emotions and will have those similar patterns repeating in his/her area. It is therefore important to define the “role model” and train all managers in that model. Of course, managers are themselves strongly influenced by the leadership style of the CEO or General Manager. So it’s also essential to ensure that that influence is a positive force.
5. Objective and quantified information and effective management The quality of management decisions depends on the quality of management information. If the management team handles information that is not quantitative or is vague and subjective, their decisions invariably will have the same characteristics. Therefore, an essential part of high performance is the definition of key performance indicators for the organization and each of the areas. Board meetings should review the performance of the organization in each of these key indicators. This can be via a balanced scorecard or a management report, etc. What is important is that the information it contains is relevant, quantified, measurable and true. It is the responsibility of the managers themselves to ensure the accuracy of the information. Board meetings should be short and effective. They are not an opportunity to discuss the solution of problems but to assign these solutions to one person or a team. Nor are they a time to socialize or to “develop team spirit”. I have heard countless excuses, but there is no reason for the management meetings (the most expensive of the organization) to last more than one hour. Punctuality and an ambitious and effective chairman are prerequisites for the effectiveness of the board meeting. And finally, to ensure that decisions are not lost in oblivion and are properly executed, a simple action plan must be drawn up which records actions to be taken, person/s responsible for taking the action and the due date by which the action will have been carried out. A management team with recognised leadership, common goals, homogeneous in their management style and effective in decision-making, will direct the organization to excellence and high performance.
The high performance management team ensures the effective and continued implementation of the corporate strategy in a work environment that fosters high performance and employee commitment. The end result is greater profitability and better performance of the organization.