First Things First – Management Team Performance

Many of you are questioning your executive team’s ability to bring your ideas to fruition, leaving you pondering management team performance.

But I know what you’d really like to be working on is growth and sustainability. So, which takes precedence right now?

You might be asking, “Why do I have to choose? I have enough faith and confidence that we can do both concurrently.” Unfortunately, business owners underestimate the amount of projects, time and money that come from strategic initiatives, stretching their human resources thin and making it difficult for employees to handle both their regular job duties and effectively manage strategic projects.

Conflicting Priorities

There are two elements to current employment issues. First, there are the administrative decisions to be made regarding hours, location, sensitivity to individual circumstances and coverage.

Second, and most important to my point, is the questioning CEOs have had regarding their management team performance during this crisis.

Many CEOs are happy with how things have played out with their teams. But for other CEOs, this crisis has created an opportunity to rethink management team performance.

Follow the Formula

My long standing process to superior growth, profitability, and being a great place to work starts with setting the vision. Then, determine the critical metrics to measure strategic progress, followed by identifying gaps in the management team and finally, going about the actions of planning and execution.

In my experience, too many CEOs go straight to execution without having the right team in place – which leaves them feeling good about “doing something” but ultimately frustrates them because what they set out to do doesn’t get done.

Because projects aren’t getting completed or they fail to generate the desired returns, CEOs then go about doing even more things and keep repeating the same unfulfilling cycle.

Chief executives feel like they and their employees are making tons of effort but the business isn’t living up to its potential.

You need to take a step back and stop repeating a marginal strategy for minimal results.

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Business owners and CEOs are in a small window right now to reset expectations, firm up long-term vision and assess the contributions being made by teams and individuals. It’s the teams and their execution that will drive scalable growth and increased profitability from great concepts.

Only when the right people are in place will the results of planning and execution really be evident.

How you get there

• Use a behavior and workplace assessment tool such as 16PF, Predictive Index, DiSC, Wonderlic, or others (I have no paid affiliation with any of these) to better understand employee motivations and biases.

• Shift how you think about HR. In my view, you need to get beyond thinking about HR as an administrative department and more as a strategic resource.

Your HR executive should be coming to you with insight, ideas and plans to ensure only the highest performing people who fit your company culture are in your business and on your team.

• Your management team might be doing a wonderful job right now but are they the right team to continue moving the business toward your vision? Presuming they fit the culture, what are the competency and functional gaps?
• Spend half a day with each of your direct reports every six months, shadowing them to gain insight into their interpersonal interactions, effectiveness with subordinates and time utilization. Don’t use this time to have a meeting.
• Do 45 minute, confidential, two-way meetings with direct reports of your direct reports every six months. Make the session a learning exercise to determine whether your messages are making it down through the organization and to answer any questions people have about the company and direction.

• Don’t rely on technology to provide a bridge between a team in transition and execution of action items. Unfortunately, having a mediocre team will only create obstacles, delays and cost overruns when it comes to implementing technology solutions.

Improve the Chances of Achieving Your Goals

When it comes to priorities, take advantage of the opportunity to be explicitly clear on what your long-term vision is, assess your people and make the changes necessary to move forward. Then and only then, determine your best growth strategies and action plans to take advantage of your team’s capacity.

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Brian Oken has helped dozens of business owners and CEOs become better leaders, build more effective teams and grow bottom-line profits.

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