Teamwork, it’s a word we all use and expect of our departments. One measure of leadership is how well you manage your team. Are they working together or are there issues that impede their progress and create friction. Good leaders have good teams. But what about the leaders as a team? To create C-suite success, you’ll need to operate as a team.
According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends, “In the last two years of our global research, the most important human capital trend identified by our survey respondents has been the need to break down functional hierarchies and build a more networked, team-based organization. This year, this trend has reached the C-suite.”
The report further states, “Fifty-one percent of the respondents we surveyed this year rated “C-suite collaboration” as very important—making it the most important issue in our 2018 survey…yet 73 percent of respondents told us that their C-suite leaders rarely, if ever, work together on projects or strategic initiatives.”
Historically, C-level leaders had “divide and conquer” marching orders. Each leader owned their department and was responsible for meeting their own goals. This worked when companies faced predictable challenges that often required functional expertise to solve. However, today’s interconnected global business environment presents different challenges that can’t be solved in a siloed manner.
With technology, new departments and new roles have been created, resulting in more C-level titles. Combined with the nature of today’s challenges, which often cross department lines and require an integrated solution, it’s no surprise to see this emerge as a concern.
The move to what Deloitte calls the symphonic C-suite, bringing together “the musical score, or the strategy; the different types of instrumental musicians, or the business functions; the first chairs, or the functional leaders; and the conductor, or the CEO,” is a blueprint for creating strategic harmony.
Markets evolve and change so quickly, that decision making must be informed if you expect to succeed. How agile is your C-suite to address a shifting landscape? The landscape is littered with strong companies that said “X” competitor won’t impact our business. Yet when they did, the company was unable to adapt to the change.
Additionally, consumer impact through social media has fundamentally changed the brand value equation. Their ability to share with the world has increased their expectations of what a business should deliver. The customer experience covers multiple touch points and must be consistent. From the marketing they see, to the sales process, to the product itself, to customer support. A breakdown at any touch point requires a consumer-oriented focus to solve it, not a departmental focus. It’s time to start thinking outside in instead of inside out.
To get started building your symphony Deloitte recommends, “The first step is for the CEO to review priorities for each C-suite leader and determine how each can have an impact more broadly across the organization. Next, cross-disciplinary projects should be prioritized so that CxOs can form specific alliances and align their efforts to drive success. Last, executive teams need to put those cross-disciplinary projects on the agenda, not only for themselves, but for the organization as a whole to increase the visibility of their collaboration to the rest of the workforce as a model to follow.”
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