The Executive Team is the single greatest factor that determines Success or Failure for any Company

Earlier today I was looking through some documents and I found an outline I had written for a talk I was asked to give clear back in 2005 on How To Build And Operate A Successful Executive Team. As I sat reading it, some eleven years later, I can tell you that if I were asked to talk on that same subject today I would have said these exact same things. I’ve had over 20+ years experience leading companies and I can tell you that these principles have proven to be the very best way to have a successful Executive Team that will lead an organization to TRUE GREATNESS!  Here are the very notes from my 2005 talk:

The Exec Team is the single greatest factor that determines Success or Failure for any Company

Responsibility of CEO to Exec Team:

Embody the values you look for in hiring the Exec team
Do what you say you will and Live what you believe
Create the atmosphere that allows honesty w/out punishment or backlash
Make sure every Exec understands exactly where the company is headed
Clearly define both your expectations and your success measurements for each Exec on an individual basis
Make sure every Exec knows the boundaries they can operate within (what they can do on their own w/ and w/out CEO approval)
Get out of their way and let them do the job you hired them to do
Always give credit to your Exec team for every success
Always take responsibility for every failure
Commit to allow and encourage a balanced lifestyle for your Execs
Remember that leadership isn’t about you; it’s about the people you serve

Hire the Right People for the Management Team:

Different Skill Sets (area of expertise)
Hire people that are smarter than you are in their area of expertise
Same Core Values (see examples of Core Values):

Willing to say what they truly think (w/out fear of being wrong)
Willingness to make decisions – has guts!
Willing to admit when someone else has a better way or idea
Genuinely Humble yet Confident
Respectful of all others
Optimistic about the future and the people they lead

Exec Team Meetings:

Keep meetings efficient (only discuss critical issues)
Openly hold each other accountable for individual performance
Fight about issues, not personalities
Challenge each others ideas
Passionate, focused, and never boring
Egos are left at the door so the entire team can work together to formulate the best solutions
Ultimately arrive at decisions that everyone agrees to support (total buy in)
No one walks out of the meeting with bad feelings or resentment

Exec Team operates with Total Trust in One Another:

Absolute and total Honesty and Open Communication (no back channel conversations or clandestine meetings about one another)
Willing to confront one another w/ disagreements but always doing so in a respectful way
Always resolve an issue (no unspoken resentments)
Complete commitment to the Team

I hope those notes prove to be helpful to some of you. I’m grateful I have been able to have experiences that have taught me so many valuable lessons over the years and I am especially grateful that I have been privileged to work with teams of amazing people over the years who have always taught me far more than I could have ever taught them.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

~Amy Rees Anderson



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