Every top management team is competing not only
to protect the firms position within existing markets, but
to position the organization to succeed in new markets. Any top
management team that fails to take responsibility for building and
strengthening its competence is inadvertently mortgaging the organizations
Lawson International Ltd. provides a custom approach
for systematically assessing and reshaping the top management team
for improved organizational and competitive performance.
Integrated Approach For Strengthening Top Management
Top management teams can be strengthened according
to a wide array of approaches but, ultimately, an assessment of
development needs and subsequent interventions must be considered
in concert. As the key strategic decision-making unit, the top management
team has multiple facets which collectively determine its nature
and performance. These leadership team characteristics influence
each other, potentially giving rise to distinct patterns or consistencies
which have great significance for the quality and performance of
the top management team in running the business.
Ultimately, all the characteristics of a top executive
team its composition, structure, process, incentives, and
the team leader influence each other. For example, the composition
of a team will affect its processes, its structure will affect its
incentives, the team leaders personality will affect structure,
and so on. These various alignments may occur because of intentional
efforts to achieve fit, because of unarticulated executive
biases or preferences, or simply by trial and error.
The Top Management Team in Context
The characteristics of the top management team do
not occur by happenstance. Rather they are the result of contextual
forces, some direct and others indirect and subtle, which impact
how to approach an executive team development process. Situated
in the heights of their organizations, executive teams have substantial
influence over organizational results; and, top executive teams
are, themselves, shaped by forces beyond their own boundaries. That
is, top management teams are both causes and effects of their business
contexts, and our approach to executive team development embraces
this broader perspective as well. The foundation of our team assessment
and development strategy entails examining:
business environment (market, regulatory, competitive, and economic,
and other factors outside the organization).
organization (its purpose, product/market strategy, policies, processes,
performance goals of the organization (profitability, growth, and
achievement of other objectives).
Therefore, our consulting approach acknowledges
the linkages between the characteristics of the top management team,
recognizing the team both as affected by context and as affecting
Challenges Facing Top Management Teams
Obvious greatness in the executive team will not
in itself assure strategic success. There are many examples of high-caliber
top management teams who have operated in ways that have nullified
their raw talents. However, team qualities are the essential foundation
for seizing control of the various challenges facing the business.
These challenges include such initiatives as
and balancing diverse organizational capabilities.
the boundaries of the business opportunity horizon.
successfully across national borders to seize global opportunities.
and revitalizing the enterprise by leveraging resources.
breakthrough strategies for competing for the future.
and accomplishing stretch targets.
and maximizing migration paths between todays markets and
industry structure and tomorrows.
Investing, preemptively, in reinventing the leadership
competence of the top management team will enhance its capability
in meeting these types of competitive challenges.
Building Executive Team Competence for the
Whether the source of altered learning requirements
and leadership team development is within or outside your organization,
shocks outside the team create the need for renewed active thinking
and problem solving to replace routinized behavioral patterns.
Lawson International works with executive teams
in both domestic and global business environments
by strategically reviewing areas of individual and collective team
competence to identify opportunities for enhanced team performance
within the context of business requirements. This diagnostic phase
serves as a change platform for the design and implementation
of a series of interrelated though carefully crafted executive team
Our initial analysis entails examining both the
environmental business shifts that are occurring and changes in
the strategic orientation within your organization that the leadership
team must prudently manage. This context includes external factors
as well as internal organizational dimensions purpose, process,
structure, and culture. The profile of the ideal leadership team
for managing in this context is then crafted and, in turn, serves
as the prescriptive benchmark for the launch of follow-on, leadership
team development interventions. These include sessions focused on
building organizational capabilities, improving teamwork, leveraging
resources, and seizing global business opportunities.
In all of our executive team development engagements,
our consulting approach is premised on the basis that top management
teams are vehicles for creating and sustaining competitive performance
for an organization. Further, we have found that there is no such
thing as a universally ideal top management team. The appropriate
mix of qualities depends on the context in which the executives
must perform, how the members fit with each other, their characteristics,
and the expected organizational results and challenges facing them.