No time to read? Here’s the answer!

No time, there’s just not enough time…   Over 6000 people now have a copy of JUMP!  It’s sobering, though, to know that many of you simply won’t have found the time to read it – and may not even have found the handy Executive Summary on Page 11. If your Leadership Team isn’t working as well as it could, your time challenges will be even worse. Dysfunction and inefficiency in the team makes work and slows progress. So what do you do if you need to improve your team but haven’t managed to read the book?   If that sounds familiar – this is just for you We’ve put together a short video guide to all the key ideas in the book. It’s less than eight minutes long and it will give you a high-level summary, not only of the key theories but also of how you can get started with your own team. Click on the image below to see the video (and don’t forget to turn on your sound). More
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Categories: Changing Your Team, Delivery Conversations, Learning Conversations, Relationship Conversations, and Why Leadership Teams Matter.

Brokering peace in a bag of ferrets

Why is there so much destructive behaviour in this team?   One of my HR clients memorably described her role in her team as being like ‘brokering peace in a bag of ferrets’. Although the description was extreme, it’s certainly evocative of the tension, arguments and unmanageability of many of the Leadership Teams I come across. Indeed, our research suggests that a huge majority of those in leadership teams think their team doesn’t function effectively. And, if you ask those outside the team how well they think their top team functions, the answers are considerably less favourable! These tensions aren’t always on display, but they are always there. A strong CEO can often keep them in check in the boardroom at least. Even in those cases, the problems will, however, leak out to conversations at the water cooler or behind the closed doors of individual’s offices. Worse still, frustrations can be shared with members of their own team – setting a bad example and producing similar tensions between functions further
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Categories: Changing Your Team, Learning Conversations, Relationship Conversations, Stories and Case Studies, Tools and Techniques, and Why Leadership Teams Matter.

Doctor, heal thyself!

HR are the experts in developing teams, right? The role of HR is to get the most out of the human capital in any organisation. One of the many ways they do this is to help create high performing teams across the organisation. Developing these other teams is hard enough, but the really important team, the one that sets the tone and plays the biggest part in delivering success, is the one that sits around the board table. The first job of HR then is to unlock the human potential in the top team. Leadership Teams are different. Whilst some of the research and tools on teams generally does have some value in top teams, they are different to other teams in the organisation in a number of critical ways. To successfully unlock the potential of a Leadership Team, you first have to understand these differences. There are three main types of team in any organisation: Functional teams These work within a single discipline, often running a department. Because each
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Categories: Changing Your Team, Making the Value Case, Relationship Conversations, and Why Leadership Teams Matter.

Teambuilding – the enemy of team development

I had a frustrating, but familiar, experience recently. The head of training of a large international client called me. She was planning an off-site day for the leadership team and wanted some help to design and facilitate it. As usual, I asked her a number of questions about their context, people and the purpose of the event. Alarm bells started ringing as her answers revealed that the objectives of the day were far from clear. The only thing she was clear about was some items from the HR agenda – and she had little idea what business benefits the CEO wanted to achieve. She did, however, have a number of clear requirements about the design. It was to be a single day and she wanted ‘creative outdoor exercises’ to be central to the approach.  She explained that team members had been disengaged at past such meetings so they wanted to ‘liven it up’ to keep people’s interest! She didn’t know why they might have been bored at previous past events…
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Categories: Changing Your Team, Learning Conversations, Relationship Conversations, and Why Leadership Teams Matter.

Why are Leadership Team meetings so ineffective?

In my career as a leader, and latterly as a consultant, I have sat in on a huge number of Leadership Team meetings. Some are better and others worse but, overall, the standard of them is surprisingly poor. Over ambitious agendas, rambling updates, visibly disengaged participants and, most importantly, superficial discussion that don’t seem to be getting to the heart of the issue are the norm.  Given the calibre of the people in the room, how can this be? Why do we put up with such poor meetings – and how can we change them? The evils of the ‘Update’ Leadership Teams are comprised of human beings and are just as susceptible to falling into bad habits. These habits are a big part of the reason why groups of talented and experienced people keep doing things that clearly aren’t working. They just aren’t getting the most out of the enormous resources of knowledge and experience in the room when the Leadership Team gets together. The most pernicious of these habits
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Categories: Changing Your Team and Why Leadership Teams Matter.

How do you get your team pulling in the same direction?

Focus is the price of excellence A former colleague of mine was fond of repeating this at every available opportunity. It may be a little trite but it is also true. Whether you are talking about individual high achievers, teams or whole organisations – one thing that is true of them all is a relentless (even obsessive) focus on a few, critical things. Repetition, dedication, energy, persistence and determination are all brought to bear on a narrow set of priorities – so it is not surprising that capability then grows and performance improves. When I was setting up in business someone said to me that if my offer didn’t hit at least one of the clients top three priorities they would never buy. The reason for this is simple; every leader has a long list of things they know need to be done or changed. Unfortunately, they also have to live with the daily reality that they (and their organisations) simply do not have time to act on them all.
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Categories: Priority Conversations.