It’s not unusual to find a senior team that’s missing its 'spark'. Pressure for results, an uncertain macro environment and organisational responses in the form of constantly shifting strategy, structures and priorities…. All these things sap energy. It’s no surprise that new leaders in particular often find the teams that they’ve inherited are disheartened, confused or just tired.
# Strategic direction
The good news is that a spark can be lit quickly if it’s done right. In our experience, it generally comes from being aligned and motivated around a shared understanding of what the organisation is here to do - its purpose - and a clear way forward to achieve it - a strategic vision.
# Team alignment
However, a spark can go out pretty fast if it’s not tended to. You may have experienced the brief excitement that comes from a company away-day, which within a few weeks dies down again, creating only disillusion. In our experience, this means you need the right leadership team, working together and taking shared responsibility for the propagation of that initial energy and excitement.
# Operating principles
Most importantly, this team needs to be making sure that the energy gets turned into results, with clear priorities, governance and KPIs. Deciding who should be on the team and who shouldn’t, can be fast. Developing trusting relationships and effective ways of working together, generating a mutually accountable team that really works as such – that can take much longer. Partly, it just comes from time spent together, resolving business problems collectively. It needs patience, consistency and determination, above all from you as the leader.
# Stakeholder Engagement
If you succeed in generating an energised, accountable top team working together around a shared vision, well done! This is critical, but it’s not enough. Oftentimes, to make things happen you need to make your ideas and your team visible to the organisation’s wider management, to tell them the story of your vision in a way that gets them excited and aligned around the ambition and supportive of its execution.
# Performing Culture
And the organisation’s performance will change only when everyone is on board. This is where your executive team comes into its own: they need to use their influence, passion, empathy and clarity – their leadership, basically – to get their own teams committed and active around the change.
# Leadership Development
Of course, it’s often not so simple. Where to start? You can’t after all invest the same amount of time and energy in each and every one of the organisation’s stakeholders. However, if you are equipped from the very start with the right executive agenda, messages and tools, you’ll be able to set alight the enthusiasm of the business – and ensure you deliver the results you need.