Being attuned to situational context and adjusting one’s approach is the hallmark of highly effective leadership. And no event in my nearly four decades of business experience calls for more situational awareness than our present time. Now, more than ever, strategically aligned, high-performing executive teams are central to business success.
This is so because executive teams play two crucial roles. First, they set business strategy and operationally align and lead the organization to drive its execution. Second, they establish, demonstrate, and embody the organizational culture and leadership framework upon which execution rests. Conversely, an ineffective or dysfunctional leader or leadership team can pose a nearly insurmountable obstacle to these same factors and can erode company culture, cause unwanted turnover, and destroy employee engagement and productivity.
In the perpetual white water of today’s business climate, companies simply cannot afford to muddle through with executives who are out of place, out of touch with executive team members, or out of sync with the strategy and one another.
Against this backdrop, executives should consider augmenting their support systems to improve their leadership effectiveness and influence. This may involve forming a “leadership cabinet” of a few trusted advisors, forming or reactivating a mentor relationship, or engaging a qualified executive coach. If the latter, the focus of the coaching relationship should be to elevate your leader effectiveness across the full spectrum of executive leadership success, encompassing the dual executive roles of strategic business guidance and individual and team leadership.
Many executive coaches define their roles exclusively in the realm of self-discovery and leadership behavior. This role is crucial, but executive coaching is far more effective when the leadership coach is also capable of collaborating and adding value in the realm of business strategy execution as well. Executive coaching may include work to ensure the success of key executives, high-potential leaders, leaders in transition, or simply to support the CEO in executing strategy and aligning his or her team in uncertain times.
In all situations, a highly functioning executive team’s impact is felt in every facet of the business, from strategy formulation, to the speed and quality of decisions and day-to-day execution.