As CEO, How Do I Pull My Team Back Together?
Pressure may turn carbon into diamonds, but it can also turn a well-functioning executive team into broken souls who no longer have a sense of commitment and joy. Regardless of how many Zoom cocktail hours you’ve held, that slight fluttering sound you hear might be the magic seeping out of your team. In fact, this pandemic has slightly broken most CEOs whom I talk with. Broken leaders and dysfunctional teams must be reinvigorated to achieve success.
How do you do this?
- Re-examine personal values. Have everyone on your team share theirs and discuss how they might’ve changed. (I’ll email you a simple tool if you contact me.)
- Identify what wins look like in this new environment. Your goal posts may have moved.
- Reassert or redefine your strategy. Is it still valid in this new environment?
- Identify what must change to execute the strategy. Do you still have the right assets and processes?
- Re-establish trust and healthy dialogue on your team. Social distancing and possible layoffs and pay cuts may have eroded healthy relationships on your senior team. You’ll have to work to bring them back.
- Develop a healthy dose of pragmatic optimism. As a leader, your tone and message must be correct to align the troops. Get a second opinion on critical communication.
- Identify what elements of your culture are working in the current environment and those that are not. I have clients who say that some of the current practices (e.g. decision making) have gotten faster and more effective. Lock those behaviors in! Also look for those elements (behaviors that were rewarded or allowed) that are no longer desirable and eliminate them.
If you have an effective executive team, your current practices, albeit with video relationships, may be enough to hold it together. However, adding a new executive to the team will require a good deal of work to get them onboarded effectively. Trust is easier to build face-to-face. You can do it remotely, but it takes twice as much work.
If you have an executive team that was not terribly well aligned, lacked trust and did not have healthy conflict BC (Before Covid), it will get worse without intervention.
This isn’t touchy-feely work. We’re talking about reinvigorating your company, people and legacy.
People will remember you for years based on your response to this situation. Start by getting your mind straight on the path forward and then get your team aligned.
Todd coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).