How leadership teams develop – from competition to co-creation
Where is your team?
Stage 1: Competition
Team members openly fight for control of the team agenda resulting in dysfunctional behaviours inside and outside the boardroom. Typical at this stage to see a tremendous amount of wasted effort and added complexity from political manoeuvring and back covering. Leader often distracted with little interest in the team.
Stage 2: Communication
Characterised by functional interactions with minimal information sharing outside of any formal meeting structure. On the surface, relationships between team members are generally cordial although the lack of alignment and accountability often causes significant complexity and duplication in the management layers below.
Stage 3: Coordination
Most common in large organisations – associated with a leader who has brought a degree of control and authority to the team. Run as ‘hub and spokes’ where decisions flow through the leader who presides over debates, driving the team forward. In order for a team to move beyond this stage there needs to be sufficient ambition and clarity on purpose.
Stage 4: Cooperation
Individuals proactively think about the joint agenda and how each team member can enable the others. The team begins to enjoy notable successes through working closely outside of formal meetings to joint problem solve. Pride in performance grows. The team becomes less dependent on the leader and no longer needs to escalate everything for a decision. It is developing an ability to manage paradoxes.
Stage 5: Collaboration
The team has a reputation for high performance – it sees diverse views and tension as a source of competitive advantage, reflected in meetings which are much more energising and build both resilience and momentum. Strong meeting governance ensures a deliberate focus on co-creating solutions to wicked problems, whilst operational day-to-day issues are picked up outside the team. Members are expert at leading out and wearing two hats – their functional and their team.
Stage 6: Co-Creation
Strong meeting governance ensures a deliberate focus on co-creating solutions to complex problems, whilst operational day to day issues are picked up outside the team. Meetings are less about informing each other, and more about agile, fast forming squads coming together to create new thinking to solve complex, interdependent problems that are more a question of judgement than logic.