What’s the key to building a growing, profitable business? How do you build a leadership team that can help you lead your markets? I’ve spent the last twenty five years working with and leading many of the world’s best run high growth businesses. I’ve spent my career recruiting and developing many of the world’s best leadership teams. I’ve been involved in merger and acquisition activities for several high growth mid-market organizations who have achieved sales exceeding $900 million in sales less than 10 years after their founding in manufacturing, software, and information technology markets.
What have I learned that can help you build a high performing leadership team? I found four factors that all successful high growth businesses have in common. If you focus on these key elements when your recruit and develop your team, you can build your own high performing leadership team.
The first element of success is that these teams were built on the idea they were a team of equals. With business becoming more complex, your leadership team must see itself as a team of peers. They must be able to bring you an edge in their areas of expertise. As CEO, it is your responsibility to bring the best out of each individual contributor on your team while sharing a common purpose and goal. You must nurture all of your teams’ greatest strengths while providing an environment for creative disagreement. Because of all the challenges you organization faces, you must be able to attract and retain the best people available in their disciplines, then listen to the expertise they bring to the table.
The second element of success for leading these teams is you’re creating a culture of change. Your team members must become capable of providing significant value through the changing business environment. As significantly, these team members must see the opportunities where others see challenges. They need to bring out the best in their fellow team members in their areas of expertise. Most of my best clients have individuals who are constantly scanning the landscape for new opportunities to leverage their team members’ strengths. Since we can’t predict the future, we must be able to build organizations that thrive on change. To be effective, this must come both from all the employees in your organization. Your leaders must make sure they are creating an environment where change is embraced.
The third element of success for these teams is they are results focused. They are as focused on implementing and executing their plans. They work hard to make sure they focus on expected outcomes from their efforts. They work well with other team members to make sure that everyone knows what and when things need to be done. They remain focused on both the big and small issues surround the success of the organization. They are willing to do what it takes to get the results that are expected.
I can remember working with one client’s CFO who, when seeing that their sales team was having difficulty explaining the financial ROI on the project being proposed to a customer, he went on the sales call to make sure the customer could see the financial results promised. The customer was so surprised at the CFO’s efforts; they awarded my client a multi-million dollar agreement within two days of the CFO’s presentation. It also gave the sales team a boost knowing they could count on him and his team when they got into similar business development situations in the future. Want to know more about How Do You Build a Great Team?
The final trait of a high performing leadership team is they understand the value of outside advisors. I find leadership teams that use external advisors when needed can create significant value to their organizations faster than those who don’t. The key idea is that most businesses have times in their business’s life where they can use a second set of eyes on a challenge.
Having a strong rolodex of advisors can help executives get information faster than they can on their own. This key resource allows individuals to access best practices and new ideas faster than traditional business practices. It also allows for greater flexibility in developing their next generation of leaders.
Over the years I’ve mentored and been mentored by many brilliant people. These mentoring relationships have allowed CEOs I know the option of creating new organizational capabilities faster and less expensively than our competitors. This mentoring process also allowed us to retain key employees because they feel appreciated and respected.
Join us next week on Wednesday as we look at several of the key changes in marketing today and how you can apply them for competitive advantage in your markets. See you then.