Four actions every CEO must take to shape their top team into a cohesive, high-performing unit.
Good CEOs create top leadership teams by selecting the best executives they can find. Great CEOs differentiate themselves by shaping a high performing top team that operates cohesively. But cohesive teamwork is on the decline the past three years.
According to DDI’s CEO Leadership Report 2023, CEOs don’t believe their top team is on the same page. Since the pandemic, more than two-thirds of CEOs say their executive team is ineffective at driving strategy. This problem is seen by other senior and mid-level leaders and creates a lack of confidence in the CEO and top team. Top teams may have high performing individuals, but still not work cohesively if CEOs don’t shape positive team dynamics and create consensus on the company’s top priorities.
The DDI findings are consistent with the results reported earlier this year from the Leadership Confidence Index, which showed the confidence CEOs have in their top teams has dropped precipitously since mid-2021, falling 7.1%.
Three key messages from these findings:
- CEOs are concerned about their top team members abilities to drive strategy, transform and reinvent the business.
- Top team members are concerned how they work collectively as a team, how they lead change, and how they role model a positive culture.
- The next-generation leaders (those who report into top team members) have the lowest levels of confidence about top teams, creating potential retention and succession risks.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Great CEOs are obsessed with the psychology and performance of their top teams. They care about the dynamics of the team and how the team works together. They know a high performing top team can be a huge value creation lever.
The four actions smart CEOs can take to build a value creating top team are:
- Focus on the roles, then the team.
- Create clarity.
- Shape the team’s dynamics.
- Build a team to perform and transform.
Fail to focus on developing your team and you will experience mediocrity. Excellent performing top teams don’t get there by accident. Get these four actions right and you will shape a group of talented senior executives into a cohesive, capable and committed top team that creates great value.