Does Your Team Disagree Enough?
Updated: Jun 8
There aren't many people who would argue against the impact the health of a company's leadership team has on the overall company culture. If you believe that team health and culture are as connected as I do, you can get on board with the idea that team health can directly impact culture as measured by employee engagement. In fact, employee engagement has been proven to drive financial performance outcomes in the research of the renowned Gallup Organization.
A Cautionary Tale
A company I worked with in the past was in a healthy market with a good amount of wind in its sails. Things were going well and the future was bright. The company's leadership team was a group of what I would call “head bobbers”. They were hard workers who took explicit orders well and always executed on the plan. The founder had recently retired to his cabin, a longtime dream of his. Unfortunately, he left behind a leadership gap and a significant vacuum from his strong command-and-control management style.
This method of operation worked relatively well for them. Team members would simply agree to whatever the founder instructed to avoid having any real disagreement or debate. Without disagreement, they could remain “in the weeds,” staying safe from any potential risks that come with honesty and vulnerability. Though it made it seem as if everything was flowing nicely, this produced a false sense of unity.
Underneath the surface, they didn’t trust one another or even care for each other all that much. When the leader, the one unifying factor, retired, the company was left with a group of department leaders with no cohesiveness beyond a basic loyalty to the company and their departmental teams.
The performance of this company stalled. Since they didn’t particularly like or trust one another, they never argued or debated to solve problems. As a result, they were never in alignment. They struggled to gain commitment to a common goal. It was no surprise their performance suffered. I don't know about you but if I don’t commit to a goal, I certainly don’t feel responsible for the results. There was a lack of direction and cohesiveness and they unfortunately lost some good talent. It was a challenging time for the organization.
I don't know about you but if I don’t commit to a goal, I certainly don’t feel responsible for the results.
So, What Happened?
The company is still around today, along with a few battle scars as proof of what they have come through. They are alive and kicking, with a new leader in place. The leadership team is now rock solid. They've recruited additional key employees as well as held onto a number of legacy employees. The culture is still in transition, but it survived the crisis and is getting healthier all the time. Performance is improving steadily.
The new leader rebuilt the leadership team around existing team members who were committed to the company and its people and who were also willing and able to change. Together, they added new team members who fit the culture as well as excelled in the roles they were hired for.
The new leader believed in a collaborative culture and wanted a strong leadership team that was excited and ready to make their voices heard. They wanted to make an impact on the future of their company. They could not be afraid to argue and debate with one another to find a common goal that aligned with the greater good of the organization.
The team began to build relationships and trust with one another and team alignment started to take shape. With their input now part of the direction and plans for the company, they began to take greater ownership of their and their teams' performance. Most importantly though, they formed a relationship as a leadership team that was aligned with a collective goal and specific outcomes.
One culture, one plan, one team... and better results.
Healthy Teams Drive Culture and Performance
So, how can you start using culture as a catalyst for driving performance? Building a strong leadership team that is aligned around a shared vision and values is a major first step in the right direction.
The process can be challenging, but many companies have accomplished this and many more, including yours, will in the future. "Healthy Teams Drive Culture and Performance" is just one of the four breakout sessions at the third annual Twin Cities Business Growth Conference. This combined with sessions focused on hiring, retention, sales, technology and key performance strategies is the first step towards building out a plan for healthy growth throughout all aspects of your business. We'd love to see you there! Reach out to connect@theResultants.com to receive $50 off the registration fee.