Management Team Development executive team building Mike Cardus
Barriers for top management teams
Opportunities for top management teams
  • Ambiguous boundaries
  • Tend to be rule/process makers
  • Length of time to know if a decision was beneficial or damaging to the organization
  • Limited to absent organizational context
  • Self-designing
  • Influence over critical conditions within the organization
  • Access to resources
  • Ability to change how work gets done

A significant barrier for top management teams derives from them being organizationally positioned at the top. Top management teams suffer from limited to absent organizational context. Being the rule-makers, the context of work, goals/tasks expected to be completed & the time-frames are long-term, creating an ambiguous boundary of expectations for the team. With these loose boundaries knowing who is a part of the top management team is often unclear (to team members and employees), meetings wander & action items tend to be left unchecked.

It is ironic that many top management teams cannot provide a model for effective teamwork since many of them are senior organizational veterans with rich experience working in & leading teams.

These team members have the power to develop an organization that can achieve strategy & organizational goals. Collectively they control most of the conditions required for team effectiveness.

What causes a management team not to achieve potential?

The central area of accountability & authority of each team member is typically their functional area, making membership in the top management team an extra task. If the management team is viewed as one of many competing demands, nobody feels the accountability or authority of creating & sustaining the team. Even though management team members give great care & attention to teams, they develop within their business units, individually & collectively, they neglect the most essential team – the Senior Management Team.

How can the management team potential be focused?
  1. The CEO or board chair is accountable for the top management team.
  2. Make time & priority for the team to develop their Goals, Roles, and procedures horizontally + vertically, within the organization.
  3. Meet at least 2 hours monthly to evaluate strategic goals & progress. Also, identify cross-functional barriers that need to be improved.
  4. Team to give updates & share stories of how the corporate mission & values are being lived & experienced by customers + employees.
  5. Top managers mentor & meet with the people who report to their direct reports. For example, Mentor – Chief Financial Officer meets to discuss work, career planning, how to navigate the company politics with Mentee – Billing Clerk, who is managed directly by the Director of Finance, managed by the Chief Financial Officer.