I have worked with dozens of companies and organizations addressing both team and organizational challenges.
I am always surprised that most leadership teams have no idea who their ‘First Team’ is.
The ‘First Team’ – best articulated by Patrick Lencioni – is the idea that true leaders prioritize supporting their fellow leaders over their direct reports. That they are responsible to their peers more than they are to their individual, or “Second”, teams.
One of the first areas I address in our consulting sessions with clients is organizational clarity.
I need to know if the executive team are on the same page regarding foundational concepts of their business.
How do these teams answer questions such as: Why does this organization exist? What is our strategy? What are our goals? etc.
Without clear, consistent answers to these questions, confusion and hesitation begin to plague an organization.
Creating alignment at the executive level is essential to building and maintaining a healthy organization.
Imagine the frustration for employees to have to navigate the politics and confusion caused by leaders who are misaligned.
The slightest bit of daylight between executive team members can have an overwhelming impact on employees below.
The Six Critical Questions
In our sessions I facilitate the exploration of the following six questions:
- Why do we exist? Beyond making money
- What do we do? What is it we exist to do?
- How will we behave? What are our core values
- How will we succeed? How do we make the best decisions.
- What’s most the most important work that we need to achieve: Right now? The one thing that when accomplished will significantly advance the company
- Who does what? Roles and responsibilities
Like in much of leadership, these questions may appear simple on the surface but are profoundly difficult to answer
And even harder to adhere to.
Test your Team
Many executives assume that they are on the same page as their peers, but once they get in a room together and openly discuss these concepts, this is not the case.
Interested in conducting a simple, but eyeopening experiment?
Have your team members sit together.
Give everyone a sheet of paper and 5 minutes. to write down their answers to the question “What do we do?
Have each person read their answer out and listen to each answer in silence.
I think you will be shocked by the discrepancies amongst you leadership team members.
Then consider this …
If the key leaders in your organization are not in agreement about “What do we do? how on earth could anyone else understand?
Seize the Advantage
If you ensure your team and company are clear and aligned from the top down on the answers to this six critical questions you will have an insurmountable advantage over your competition.