Creating a successful team is not something that happens overnight. It takes hard work and commitment and can sometimes be a painful process. The good news is that even a struggling team can become a successful one. You can create and manage a highly effective executive team by cultivating the following five conditions for success:
1. Establish a clear, compelling direction.
Being able to articulate a vision is easier for many leaders than being able to provide direction on how to achieve that vision. Some leaders do not want to force their vision on their team, believing that "they are smart people; they'll get it." However, high-performing individuals-people who tend to be on top teams-need clearly communicated goals and direction. Otherwise, a leadership vacuum is created, one that members rush to fill with their own individual priorities and goals. As a result, even seemingly bright teams can self-destruct as personality disputes and cynicism take over.
According to the research results, leaders of outstanding teams provide far clearer direction than leaders of poor-performing teams The new CEO of one successful executive team observed in the study established direction for his team by drafting a document that laid out his vision. Preparing this core vision was not a democratic process; he worked alone, often 14 hours a day, for two weeks. When he completed the draft, he met with each of his seven vice presidents in private to discuss his ideas and encourage them to buy into his plans. Once he had set the direction, the CEO allowed the executive team to take over and present the plan to 130 other key employees. Although it was the leader's vision, every team member had some input and was therefore able to support the vision. That year, thanks to the initial clear directive of...