Leadership Team Development
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Xavier Lederer with Ambrose Growth. Xavier was a strategy consultant with Bain & Company for 4 years in Europe (Brussels & Amsterdam office). He is now a business coach, helping CEOs of mid-market companies, who are frustrated by the way their company is growing, redefine their growth strategy/execution and their management approach, so they can get back on track to profitable growth.
Prior to starting his own practice Xavier was the President of a chocolate manufacturer in NYC. Xavier has particular expertise in helping leadership teams define an actionable growth strategy, establish an execution discipline to hold people accountable, and build stronger, more cohesive leadership teams. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three elementary-school age children. He is a trained chocolatier and a hobbyist beekeeper. Xavier is happy to collaborate on projects in North America and across Europe to help mid-market companies redefine their growth strategy/execution and their management approach to grow faster and with less pain.
Joana Domingues explains how a strong tactic of team leadership may be to admit when you need help.
Every time I do it, it’s magical. And yet, I refrain. After all, I’ve spent a life showing myself strong and helpful, capable of dealing with anything you throw at me, and with composure and a smile (without asking for help). Isn’t that the definition of “very professional”? Well… it surely has its merits, and I’ve found it’s also a recipe for my exhaustion. My “invincibility armour” creates separation, does not let help in. At the same time, it may also limit the capacity of others to ask for help, afraid of displaying their own vulnerabilities and needs.
Interestingly, when I do recognize “I’m tired”, or “I have too much on my plate”, help seems to magically unfold my way, new possibilities and choices emerge. I feel lighter, more supported, in this together. It’s a muscle I am learning to strengthen – and for me it might be a lifelong journey.
I see my “strong-alone-exhausted” pattern in many of the executives and teams we are coaching. Often overwhelmed with work, focused on delivering the load ‘on their own plate’, they don’t stop to acknowledge their own weaknesses and limits, to share what is hard, where they could use some help.
Key points identified in this article include:
- How vulnerability builds trust and cooperation
- Executive patterns
- Checking impulses
Read the full article, How showing vulnerability helps build a stronger team: exactly when it’s harder, on LinkedIn.
Priyanka Ghosh shares a case study on the steps taken to address a slump in the business cycle combined with frictions in the Leadership Team.
The Middle-Eastern unit of global energy company was facing a challenging period due to a slump in the business cycle combined with frictions in its Leadership Team. As the Middle East business had grown, the Leadership Team had expanded to reflect the broader set of service lines and increased levels of functional support. Most of the new members had joined from outside the company. They were not accustomed to the company’s culture or ways of doing things. Furthermore, they were scattered across numerous countries in the region. ProMelior was asked to uncover why the Leadership Team was not living up to its full potential and to drive a program of individual and team coaching to improve business performance.
To gain a robust picture of the leadership team, both as individuals and as a team, ProMelior conducted a thorough set of diagnostic analyses. For each executive, we conducted 360-degree feedback surveys and administered various psychometric tests. We also conducted in-depth ‘Life-line interviews’ in which we explored how the individuals had made important decisions in their lives. By triangulating the various sources of information, we built up a detailed picture of ‘what made each executive tick’ and their observed behavior patterns in business situations. We also observed the Leadership Team in action during a variety of meetings to understand how they discussed issues, managed conflict and made decisions.
Through the diagnostic analyses, ProMelior generated several important insights. First, the psychometric testing and Lifeline interviews showed clearly showed that most of the Leadership Team members were ‘amiable’ vs ‘analytical’ people. In other words, they valued being liked and maintaining harmony over analyzing issues and pursuing the ‘truth’. As a result, the Leadership Team rarely analyzed the company’s strategic challenges and tended to avoid open conflicts between team members. Over the long-term, however, these behaviors led to a growing set of unresolved issues which elevated interpersonal tensions and created operational gridlock. Second, the Leadership Team held very unstructured meetings without clear agendas or robust time management. Not surprisingly, the meetings tended to meander on detailed operational issues without addressing the key strategic or organizational challenges of the company.
Key points from this case study include:
- Presenting the insights from the diagnostic analyses
- Training sessions on the characteristics of a high-performing team
- Components of developing the Leadership Team
Read the full case study, The Executive Team Coaching & Development Program, on Promelior.co.uk
Paul Millerd tackles the origins and meaning of culture and provides a framework and lens for thinking about organizational culture in ways that can shape your corporate culture.
Culture is a messy term. In 1952, two Academics, Kroeber and Kluckhohn, completed a comprehensive review of the term and found that by then there were over 134 definitions.
As Kroeber and Kluckhohn explored the history of the word, they found all roads pointing to Germany, where the word was emerging as “cultur”:
Kant, for instance, like most of his contemporaries, still spells the word Cultur, but uses it repeatedly, always with the meaning of cultivating or being cultured
It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the word started to form into the modern form of the word, adopted by Anthropologists and other academics who were studying foreign cultures.
Sir Edward Tyler’s book Primitive Culture from 1870 is often marked as a shift toward the modern definition:
‘that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.’
By the 1950’s there were over 100 definitions of the word and that was before organizations started using the term.
In the 1980’s, Edgar Schein’s research expanded the scope of the world to modern organizations and the way we talk about companies has never been the same.
Areas discussed in this essay include:
- How culture arises
- Why the idea of a unified, single culture is wrong
- A framework for thinking about culture (hint: it’s not actually a pyramid)
- The two factors that shape how a culture solidified
- The role of anxiety in learning and culture
- The stages of culture development
- Identifying a “strong” culture
- How to assess culture in your own company
Read the full essay, Edgar Schein’s Anxiety & Assumptions: Powerful Ideas On Culture, on the Boundless website.