What Conditions Make for Top-Performing Senior Teams?

In a wide array of recent engagements with companies and projects, covering an array of senior executive teams led by CXO’s, we observe that SOME perform with real synergy – where the teams are able to create dramatic, innovative value beyond the individual contributions of their members – while energetically engaged with each other, connected in important emotional and psychological ways.

OTHERS…  cannot create business outcomes, are slowed by friction, full of unhappiness, rife with defection and “retirement-in-place”.

What leads to these dramatically different outcomes? Observation suggests that results do not FOLLOW “good feelings” on the team, but precede or run in parallel with good feelings.  Further, the role the senior leader plays in the group, and how s/he plays that role, has some impact – that the “leadership stance” the senior leader is able to create, can dramatically organize and motivate positive team process and outcomes  or work against good outcomes.  The stances of individual team members – leaders in their own right – shape the dynamics of the team.  Finally, observation suggests that the personal connection of each member to the team’s shared commitment (its mission, or purpose, or objective) is fundamental to the ways the team operates.

In your observations of senior teams – in your organization – what have you observed about how top performing senior teams work – and what contributes to their success or failure? What stories about “best” team experiences can you share?

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