Alignment at the top levels of leadership significantly increases the likelihood for organizational success. But actually living this out in reality can prove difficult.
Our research shows that the challenges faced by executive teams differ a great deal from any other kind of teams. All too often, senior executive teams lack alignment and a sense of partnership. Sometimes self-interest leads to such a scenario. Other times, it might just be that different, well-intended executives have diverging ideas on how to address a particular business challenge.
This lack of alignment inevitably trickles down the organization and could potentially pit employees against one another and prop up silos. If not addressed, this can have a disastrous effect on the entire organization.
Team coaching has proven to be one the most effective strategies to address the challenges of becoming an integrated high-performing leadership team. This sets the team up to successfully face business challenges and opportunities.
A guiding framework
The mere idea of getting senior leaders to talk about solutions that might compromise their function or space may sound like an impossible challenge. Senior leaders are indeed typically high-performing achievers that are opinionated and not always willing to play the role of team members; they want to lead. To overcome this challenge, we suggest using a coaching framework embedded in research and data: DAC, which stands for direction, alignment, and commitment. Here is what this entails:
1. Direction: You need to have clarity about where you are going. It is the starting point.
2. Alignment: The team is completely on-board with how to accomplish the goal.
3. Commitment: As a result of direction and alignment, the team is fully engaged with their heads, hearts, and hands.
DAC supports strong organizational leadership.
The problem for many senior teams is in between the “D” and the “A.” For example, there is clarity around the direction an organization wants to move in order to achieve specific goals. The problem is that different leaders envision different pathways to achieving the end result. In this environment, it is impossible to have true organizational commitment.
Team coaching can set the organization on the right course to effectively navigate the direction, alignment, and commitment process. It challenges the senior group to have courageous conversations that otherwise might remain secret or taboo, and to explore typical political and team power dynamics in order to address them. At the same time, team coaching provides the right level of support in ways that allow for true strategic conversations to take place.
If you’re facing similar challenges, consider deploying team coaching within your organization.