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Executive Skills Strengthen Strategy

leadership transition Mar 13, 2024
team -win

- By Sophie Pinkoski

Every successful organization is powered by a strong executive team. As the backbone of any organization, the executive team is responsible for decision-making, goal setting, problem-solving, and achieving the strategy. They embody the collective expertise needed to drive the organization forward, filling any gaps a leader may need. Bringing together a cohesive team doesn’t happen on its own. It takes intentional, thoughtful work, selecting experts with a variety of skills that will complement one another well.

A high-functioning executive team acts as a unified force to achieve organizational objectives.

Yet according to Forbes, only 1 in 5 executive teams consider themselves high functioning. Lately, the rapidly changing landscape has required leaders to reassess what is necessary to ensure their organization can survive and thrive in the modern world. The executive team’s make-up has thus evolved accordingly, embracing a fresh approach to keep up with the times.

Here's how leaders can build an executive team that best reflects the organization's needs:

Align your team on your organization’s purpose to build strategy – Before an impactful strategy for realizing your organization’s goals is created, it’s crucial for leaders to clearly communicate those goals with their team. They are there to help bring the organization's vision to life and that requires clarity and transparency from the leader. Team members seek to know their purpose within the context of the organization’s mission and values. Once the team understands the vision, everyone can come together to find the best way to integrate everyone’s skills in developing and delivering the strategy. Don’t be surprised if taking full advantage of their expertise means moving away from the traditional way the organization has done things.

A great executive team will challenge every aspect of the organization and find new ways to replace old systems that may no longer be of service.

Eliminating these inefficiencies will move forward to drive transformation for the organization. At the end of the day, systems should be in place to support the organization's goals. When a team fully embodies the strategic direction, they can better find common ground on how best to achieve it, even if it means embracing new ways of doing so.

Develop your team’s skills based on your organization’s needs – Gone are the days when people were hired first based on culture fit. Candidate evaluation should not start with “how can this person fit in with us?”, but “how do we fit with each other?” More and more often, organizations are hiring people to fill skill gaps within their team. This involves thoughtful team assembly, assessing existing talent within the organization against what needs to be achieved. It's about creating–and filling– the right roles with the right people to benefit the organization at large. While we are seeing a new era of executive roles, integrating new roles requires looking internally and externally. Strengths-based leadership means seeing the potential in a team and further developing each individual’s skills through continual learning and growth. Each person’s skills are a piece of the puzzle contributing toward the organization's big picture. A diversity of expertise gives an organization further depth.

Build a culture of trust for productive collaboration – Of course, a diverse executive team is only as effective as the culture that supports them.

Leaders set the tone and pace of an organization’s culture.

Much of that entails leading by example. Leaders can empower their team by providing the psychological safety needed to feel their voice is valued and heard. This builds trust, which is integral to creating a strong collaborative spirit amongst the team. An organization is at its best when each other’s strengths are called upon instead of encouraging internal competition or depending upon a single person to deliver performance. No one person can embody every skill and quality needed to achieve organizational success. This is why a team that complements each other’s skills is so important. Leaders do not need to carry the burden of leadership on their own.

Building a high-functioning team that reflects an organization's needs and values is essential for success. By prioritizing alignment, skill diversity, and a collaborative culture of trust, any leader can create an executive team that not only achieves organizational goals, but also inspires innovation and growth. The strength of the executive team ultimately determines the success of the organization’s journey ahead.

Further Reading

Effective Executive Leadership Team Development, Forbes

Reinventing Your Leadership Team, Harvard Business Review

How to Build a Powerful Leadership Team, Leaders.com

6 Ways to Build a Successful Leadership Team, Fellow

How To Strongly Align You, Your Team And Your Organization, Forbes

Why Your Leadership Team Must be Aligned on Your Workplace Strategy, ET Group

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