What We Did
With the sponsorship of the CEO, a three-day offsite was organised for the executive team of six, with a one-day follow-up three months later. In the face of market disruption, two successive quarters of poor results and the loss of some key senior talent, the CEO was determined to address a problem that he saw as stemming from his top team.
There was a sense of unspoken conflict within the group, resulting in siloed behaviour and a lack of mutual accountability. The offsite was positioned as an opportunity to rebuild trust, mutual respect and accountability by surfacing several ‘elephants in the room’ that were holding the team back. It was preceded by a data-gathering phase that included 360 feedback, personality and leadership diagnostics and in-depth 1:1 discussions with a team coach.
During the offsite, there was a strong focus on establishing a ‘safe space’ for team members to experiment in their interactions with each other and engage in much-needed ‘courageous conversations’, facilitated by a coach. The process also encouraged the executives to provide each other with powerful feedback, to explore issues such as trust, fear and vulnerability. Key to the coach’s role was to help the executives become more aware of how conscious and unconscious influences on their behaviour were helping shape the dynamic of the team and how they might complement each other more to improve team effectiveness. The output from the offsite was a simple, yet highly-focused leadership development plan for each executive (including the CEO).
Much effort was invested during the event to ensure each executive’s commitment to their development plan, while co-coaching arrangements were established to assist with implementation. The follow-up examined both individual and team successes, against a set of metrics agreed by the executives and their CEO.
The Leadership Advantage
- Interactions within the leadership team became more focused, less conflictual and energy-sapping
- The process helped to resolve tensions between personal and team objectives, with a corresponding decline in ‘turf wars’
- The executive team was increasingly able to focus on an agenda to stabilise and safeguard the future of the business
- The evident increase in ‘EQ’ within the executive team had a ripple effect further down the organisation.