We're in This Together – Teamwork at the Executive Level.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Thursday, 23rd August 2012
Every company I have ever worked with had a corporate hierarchy of managers with titles listing specific areas of responsibility.

However, in spite of these titles and the CEO referring to them as the management team, a number of them had no clue as to how to function as an Executive Management Team. (EMT)

Consequently, although it may seem semantically insignificant, the first thing I recommend is to rename the team the EMT. The next step is to define everyone's role and level of authority including the CEO. This alone often can uncover micromanagement and variuous levels in the organization.

Teamwork, by Definition Implies Interdependence

The action of every member of the EMT affects the action of others including their peers and their subordinates. What one EMT member may fail at can lead to the failure of another. If that builds on itself it can then morph into a culture of failure. If your timing is off it can throw the timing of the entire team off.

Sometimes you must reach out and help one another to insure you maintain focus and stay on the path to success. The best way to maximize the chance for success of the EMT is to back each other up. That means you need a foundation of trust and respect for one another. If trust and respect does not exist ---- teamwork will not exist universally. Keep the following concepts ever present in the EMT charter of integrity.
  • Think teamwork at all times
  • Understand each other's roles and contribution
  • Encourage challenge and questioning amongst the group
  • Create an attitude of support
  • Eliminate Me and encourage We
  • Create a climate of Trust & Respect
No Team is Perfect

Understand that perfection is almost never realized in anything you do. No CEO or leaders can create a high level of performance if they surround themselves with weak players. However, having an executive management team that is weak is an indication that the CEO is weak.

After all, the CEO selects the team they surround themselves with. I often tell CEOs that even if you are average, if you surround yourself with above average people, they will make you an above average CEO. O the other hand, if you surround yourself with losers, even if you are above average, they will make you a loser.

A leader must demonstrate the need for maximizing performance to the team. This is communicated more by action than words. Tolerance for the lack of excellence or subpar performance sends a distinct message; the wrong message.  A cohesive management team is probably the most critical element required to maximize success and meet objectives.

The key to being a Real Leader is the ability to influence the influencers. You have to touch people in such a way that they can reach out and touch other people. Leadership isn't something you learn from a book or a college course. It is developed over time. Inspiring greatness in others is a phrase often used to define leadership responsibility.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.


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