Behind every great CEO is an effective executive team. Investing in your leadership team is crucial to the success of an organization, especially in an industry as multifarious and network-reliant as healthcare.
As CEO, your executive leadership team (ELT) acts as the nucleus of a complex and integrated system, through which you can govern and guide accordingly. Each member of the team is your liaison for driving results throughout every department. When melded properly, an empowered and synergetic leadership team is the key to running a successful operation.
Mobilizing your team is the start to a strong and prosperous system. Most CEOs inherit their ELT -- and often it is brimming with sharp, experienced professionals. But the best teams are greater than the sum of their parts. Executive harmony is the new competitive edge.
Building an all-star leadership team is a learning process. Real results aren’t measured in a day. Substantial growth happens with transparency and time.
Here is what that process looks like:
Step 1: Listen and Observe
Take time to listen, observe and understand. Talk to stakeholders of all levels -- even those outside of the organization. Pay attention to common narratives that define present climate and culture. What are the current expectations, challenges, and opportunities?
Step 2: Invest in exploratory discussions
To find common ground, promote discourse both one-on-one and in groups. Teams that can connect to a unified identity, security, and purpose more easily meet goals and exceed expectations than those that lack consensus.
Step 3: Set goals
Introduce personal assessments to gauge motivators, inhibitors, and other indicators of job performance. Make sure your team understands that these are not for evaluation, but to empower strengths and align goals.
Step 4: Get to know your team
Identify personality types, leadership styles, and communication techniques. Distinguishing these characteristics and organizing them promotes comfort through transparency and will help you build the foundation for a successful leadership team.
Step 5: Build trust
Encourage vulnerability and honesty to promote trust and strengthen relationships across your team. Instill confidence and passion by drawing clear connections between your strategy, the organization’s mission, and the team’s unified sense of identity. Your team needs to believe in themselves, as well as in your vision, as much as you do. In any effective organization, thoughtful strategy is dependent on passionate execution.
Step 6: Clarify your goals
Use the knowledge gained from your assessments to clarify goals, configure (or reconfigure) roles, and set reasonable, measurable expectations. Pivot individual skills as needed to enhance group performance.
Step 7: Embolden your leaders
Encourage your team to work outside of their silos. Cross-communication and collaboration are powerful assets within your leadership toolbox. Energize your team to engage above, below, and across the organization to achieve the best possible outcomes in every situation.
Step 8: Think to the future
Discuss what your team could look like a year from now. Address uncertainty, ask questions, engage in dialogue, and push boundaries. Visualizing the best-case-scenario early on will keep you and your team goal-oriented and respect the big picture when dealing with day-to-day decision-making.
Step 9: Build your plan
Use the information gathered through the previous steps to start building your game plan. Consider the core purpose, rules of engagement, and benchmarks for measurement. The executive leadership team is your touchpoint to the entire organization. Acknowledge and harness individual strengths, calibrate effective leadership strategies, and cultivate a sense of identity, purpose, and connection to the team and the organization as a whole.
This process and the path you set out on looks different to every organization, every team, and every member. A truly impactful ELT believes in a unified vision that elevates each leader to harness and integrate individual strengths to the betterment of the group’s mutual success. With collective synergy, a solid foundation, and dynamic guidance, your executive leadership team will grow together and maintain a sharp edge over the competition.
For a more in-depth look at this process -- including a three-phase expansive journey on assessing, building, and fine-tuning your executive leadership team -- read the CEO Primer: Accelerating Executive Team Performance.