By Kevin J. Sensenig, Ph.D., RODP, President & Chief Learning Officer, Good Leadership
I recently spent time with the senior leadership team in three different organizations. While each team faced unique aspects of competition in their industry, it struck me that the one commonality among all three teams was the challenge to stay focused on their top priorities because they were consumed with internal friction. The energy they were spending on the internal issues was causing them to have less focus on their external opportunities.
Effective senior leadership teams recognize that they must put their energy into creating operational assurance; a culture of accountability, where the teams deliver the promises in the operating plan, so senior executives can shape the market and recruit the best talent. They place their effort into strengthening the links to execution by creating alignment, commitment, and open accountability throughout the organization so they can keep their focus on the outside-in perspective.
It is clear that when the team at the top is not aligned, everyone suffers. To build operational assurance, start with aligning the senior team around the big opportunity in the marketplace and aligning their teams (the directors and managers) around the compelling plan to move the organization forward. Then commit to building momentum among teams throughout the organization to work together and readily share resources to achieve the plan. Pull it together in setting clear expectations among leaders for seeking accountability to grow and deliver results. Throughout this effort, embrace the healthy tension required to speak openly when expectations and goals are not being met so the team can adjust their plans, efforts, and behaviors appropriately in getting the plan back on track.
By continually linking alignment, commitment, and open accountability, you will change the beliefs, behaviors, and actions of teams so they are able to thrive and win together. It’s in shifting from an individual focus, or a departmental focus, to a teams of teams approach that leaders strengthen the links to execution and create operational assurance in their organization. Consider how connecting alignment, commitment, and open accountability in your organization may change the energy of your mid-level leaders and provide more space for your senior leaders to focus their best energy externally.