“The complete lack of cooperation between the top managers has created chaos, excessive operating costs, and decreased sales volumes. Each blames the others for the organization’s problems. They do not share information between themselves or with others who need it, and they have made no attempt to pull the organization together as a unified body. “
We specialize in helping broken teams. The excerpt above comes from a report to the shareholders of an organization that was in deep financial trouble. They asked us to find out why the company was losing money. They were certain that the problem was caused by inefficient work processes and antiquated equipment. We found those issues, but they were only a symptom of a much deeper problem.
Everyone in the organization knew about the disagreement between the top managers, but no one was willing to talk about it, including the managers themselves. While they fought openly, they never tried to address the truth of the matter: they had created an “us vs. them” atmosphere that was destroying the company.
This is an extreme example of the types of leadership issues we help our clients work through. While most leadership teams don’t suffer from this extreme level of dysfunction, any amount of unaddressed discord in the leadership team is felt throughout the organization.
We have worked with teams at all levels, and have found that underperforming teams have a common problem. They fail, not because of a lack of skill or knowledge, but because they are unable to say what they believe to be true. Issues brought up in team meetings are sugarcoated out of fear of retribution or a perceived need to be politically correct. The real bones of contention are never discussed until later, in the “meeting after the meeting.”
Highly functioning teams have a strong commitment to the truth, and are able to get at the heart of team issues. Our leadership development process helps executive teams to identify their own dysfunctions and get at the truth. The team learns to work together to grow and openly address their real issues.