Last year, a company I know well that had been growing and achieving high quality, was broadsided by an external force that took away its profitability overnight.
The company had a senior management team of skilled, experienced and clever people (and nice too). However, that team crumbled under the issue. Some left quickly, some were like rabbits -stuck in the headlights and frozen by fear. There was certainly much procrastination and avoidance of tough decisions, Eventually just one of the senior team was left and that individual faced things head on and is steadily reviving the business.
Importantly, this lone leader didn't do it alone. Several ‘junior’ staff stepped up. These people took responsibility, examined the issues and created plans; they worked overtime without pay and faced tough decisions. A crisis response team emerged of management, administrators and technicians in the company. Now they're in recovery and the business model is radically different.
This is just one example, but time and again I've seen members of competent senior management teams freeze when agile thinking, flexibility of plans, imagination, inspiration or tough calls are most needed. Internal politics, silo thinking, departmental reports and the need to keep a monthly salary can conspire to undermine an open mind-set by a group of people. To get out of a crisis, so often one person has to come to the fore, take the risk of failure and drag the team onward.
When we work with clients our approach encourages organisations to create teams of competence not rank. Job titles are not always markers of the skill and personality mix needed to help achieve a task. The aim is to create a team of people who:
- Are Capable, possessing the skills and abilities for the task
- Connected to the mission of a business
- Know that their views Count, and,
- Can act with Courage
This combination is known as the 4C’s of teams.
So, my take home question for you dear reader is:
If you're a leader, are your teams denoted by rank or relevance?
And if you ignore this issue in good times, your team will struggle to come through when the hard times hit.
My colleagues and I coach and train people and teams; if you have had a thought sparked from this story contact me and we'll share some ideas without obligation that you can apply with your people today.