Talented executive teams are exactly like professional sports teams. It is not the talent that makes the difference. It is their ability to work together effectively to achieve common goals. Just like the sports teams, each person brings their own unique set of strengths and abilities which must be positioned to work with the many different strengths and abilities of their teammates.
The sports teams have a huge advantage over executive teams...they have metrics that describe how each player can deliver the behaviors needed in the game. They know their speed in a 10-meter sprint. They know their speed at the end of 40 minutes of game time. They know how tall they are and how high they can jump. They know how much they weigh and how much leg strength they have. This data and more allow them to craft game plans that use their collective strengths and abilities to the greatest advantage. It is not enough to know that the player has been successful on some other teams. It is not enough to have them “fit in well with the team.” If it works well, that kind of information will enable them to have an OK season. It will never enable them to optimize their performance. That requires deeper and more accurate data.
Experience suggests that even working closely with another person requires considerable time before there is even a reasonable understanding of how each other works best and how to communicate effectively. Unfortunately, that time can be extremely expensive at the executive level. If misunderstandings occur, it can be disastrous.
Today that time frame can collapse almost completely. The BestWork experience captures the collective hard-wired traits and abilities of each member of the executive team. This DATA reveals the complete communication structure within the team, highlighting the potential glitches or choke points. Once seen, these can easily be engineered to avoid any problems. The DATA can also be used to compare the operational strengths of the executive team with the operational strategies of the enterprise. Critical needs are easily identified and filled with strategic recruiting.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a DATA inventory of an executive team is the clarity of leadership that it provides for the CEO/President. Just as the coach of the professional sports team uses incredibly detailed performance information to make changes in the game plan while the game is still underway, DATA creates the capacity for strategic agility. This is a powerful competitive advantage that drives quicker decisions that are at the same time, lower risk thanks to the DATA.
An example of this application of BestWork is found in the story of this 500-person software company. The company was successful but needed to transition its business into new areas that offered more opportunities for growth. The changes were positive and almost all of the employees looked forward to the future. A new CEO with expertise in the new market was brought in, taking over the existing executive team, who happily welcomed him. He held his first meeting, describing his vision for the future with high enthusiasm that engaged the entire team, who applauded and promised their full support. Several weeks went by with little action by the team. The CEO was puzzled and called another meeting. He proceeded to restate his vision, and once again, he was assured that the team was completely behind him. Several more weeks went by, and still, there was no appreciable movement by the team. One call led to a referral and that led to having BestWork inventory the CEO and his new team.
The first question was how the team dealt with change.
The CEO and 8 of the team SEEK CHANGE and are quite eager to initiate change when needed. Willingness to change was definitely not the problem.
The next question was whether or not the team was Decisive. Were they waiting to be told what to do?
The DATA showed that the CEO and all 10 of his team were all DECISIVE. That was not a problem.
It was in Planning and Need for Details that the roadblock was found.
The CEO was a big-picture thinker, leaving the details and the planning to others. Conversely, 9 members of the executive team have a high need for details and cannot begin a project without a plan in place. The executive team was waiting for the CEO to give them the details of the plan so they could get started. The CEO was waiting for them to put the plan together, work out the details, review it with him, and get started.
These were all highly educated, experienced, and talented executives. All of them were motivated and committed to the successful performance of their jobs. Still, almost two months went by because every one of them was trying their very best to get the job done in the best way they knew how. Those ways just did not sync up with the CEO’s best way of getting the job done. Within minutes of projecting the DATA composite of the team on the screen, the issue was recognized by several members of the team with virtually no help from the BestWork representative. Within a few minutes, each executive promised to have his part of the plan finished within the week. The complete transition followed soon after without further hitches. DATA became the foundation of the executive team’s operation, extending throughout each work group.
Whenever an executive is promoted or moved into a new position of responsibility, they generally find themselves with a new team. BestWork gives the new leader a fast start at understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the members that will determine their success in the new role. DATA also gives the team members immediate insights into how to work most effectively for their new leader. In today’s business world, this operational agility can be priceless.