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  • Writer's pictureOlivier S.E. Courtois

A Dysfunctional Team Can Slow Down, Derail, or Even Paralyze an Organization!

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Teams play a major role in any organization.

The stakes are even higher with senior executive teams.

Getting these priorities right can help improve business results dramatically.

Here are a series of priorities that, in my experience, when properly established, can help (senior) teams become very effective:

1/ Align the top team on a shared purpose and clear goals and values. Most often, teams have an eye on the organization's strategy. Fewer teams though have a specific vision and strategy for their team. The first priority is to define a team vision and strategy to serve the organization's strategy and empower its different constituents.

2/ Get the right people on the team and align them on the mission and vision. The second priority is to define the complementary talents needed to achieve the company's objectives and to orchestrate them effectively with clearly established roles and responsibilities, ensuring all talents are properly used.

3/ Define and implement efficient procedures and routines. The next priority is to review the established procedures and routines and to evaluate without concession those that have real added value and those that are superfluous; also, those that are missing. The proper functioning of the team requires a series of routines and procedures that, without being excessive, should allow it to function optimally: the architecture of the different types of meetings, the method of decision making, problem solving, information management, task completion and follow-up, the role of the team leader in relation to the rest of the team, or aligned communication with the different stakeholders.

4/ Establish guiding principles to foster constructive internal and external relationships. Another priority is to review the factors that promote effective and constructive relationships within the team and successful interactions with stakeholders inside and outside the organization.

5/ Develop effective reinforcement systems.

Last but not least, is to develop systems that encourage the right behavior and ensure that established practices are continually challenged and updated.

Reinforcement systems are of two types: first, they consist of financial or other systems that encourage appropriate behavior. Second, systems that allow the team to maintain a dynamic of continuous development and encourage it to constantly question its functioning. To avoid getting stuck in outdated practices, groupthink or complacency.

Investing some time in the functioning of the top team, creating a clear Top Team Roadmap is certainly a wise investment, with indirect, direct and business results at stake.

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