In the best leadership teams, Sales Directors evolve from “My job is sales” to “My job is to meet our company’s goals through my contribution in sales”.
As it is for Sales Directors, so it is for Finance Directors or Product Directors or Delivery or Marketing or Technology or ….
This is a key part of being able to scale, achieve strategic goals, and grow succession. I spoke about that in an earlier video.
But it is also essential if your team is to work well together on a day-to-day basis. All too often, leadership teams get combative over their patch. And they end up focussing time, energy and effort either on defending that patch, or trying to outshine other members of the team.
This shows up most commonly in team members either taking credit for work that they were at best only partly responsible for, or shifting pressure and blame to another member of the team.
The challenge with the blame game is that it only takes one person to start for it to increasingly permeate a team, even if the others weren’t looking to participate. Because once a blame-shifter points at you, you feel obliged to defend yourself. And now the CEO has two people who are no longer focussed on solving the problem.
Resolving this involves moving each member of the team to see their responsibility as moving the company towards its goals through their own function, and also stamping out the blame really early and decisively.
Easily said, harder to do. Here’s what I’d look at.
First, I’d make sure there was clarity of purpose (so we know where we’re going) and values (so we know what behaviour is acceptable).
Second, I’d ensure there was clarity of roles. Even though I want the team looking at the overall picture as their goal, they need to know what their role is in achieving it.
Third, I’d ensure I lead with the discipline to stick to both of these in implementation decisions, especially including having “difficult” conversations where needed.
Finally, I’d look at making sure I have a process in place to help embed the most productive ways of working.
These are the kinds of conversations we’ll be having in our Build on Purpose beta group. If you run an agency or consultancy of 10 to 50 people, register for my webinar (6 to 8 people max) to find out more, or get in touch and we can chat.
Many CEOs are too involved in the day to day running of their business to step back and work on building them. We're looking for an intimate beta group of tech and digital consultancy / agency CEOs (10 to 40 employees) to join us on this upcoming webinar to talk through our Build on Purpose framework for making strategy, purpose and values happen.