How effective is your leadership team?

by Lars Even Rasmussen

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On average, only 30% of tenured CEOs (those in role three or more years) say their senior teams are effective.

DDI CEO Report 2021

One of the major challenges of senior leaders is how they can make their leadership team work effectively.

I have heard this consistently over the years and it seems to be a universal issue across any size of organisation and business, all types of industries, in all geographies, and all layers in the organisation. Having leadership teams work effectively is hard to obtain.

This is obviously a major leadership challenge. Ineffectiveness from the leadership team will cascade through the organisation and create some of the well-known organisational diseases: rigid silo focus and suboptimization, inefficient strategic execution, bureaucracy, unaligned communication and erosion of trust in leadership, etc. The list of symptoms is long.

The other day, I came across research that puts data on my experiences. In a recent published global survey by DDI, CEO’s around the world were asked about how effective their senior leadership team is operating.

A striking result is that only 30% of CEO’s with more than 3 years in the role feel that their leadership team works effectively. Or put the other way around, 7 out of 10 does not feel that their senior leadership is operating effectively.

This is a devastating result. Needless to say, that there’s a lot to be gained by improving this. No doubt that the effectiveness of the senior leadership team has a direct impact on business results and overall organisational health.

The good thing is, that you can do something about it.

First, the DDI CEO Report 2021 clearly shows, that using professional assessment in talent decisions with a strategic approach have a significant positive impact on the effectiveness of the leadership team.

Among organisations that leverage objective data in their strategic talent decisions, 64% of the CEO's rated their senior teams as effective, more than double the average.

DDI CEO Report 2021

As shown above, CEOs are significantly more positive about the effectiveness of their leadership team in organisations that:

  1. are conscious and deliberate about the calibre of talent who fills the leadership positions through assessments for development and selection, and
  2. have a structured approach to build team effectiveness in the leadership team.

The impact of these approaches is substantial. Where the general CEO satisfaction of leadership team effectiveness is quite low (30%), working systematically with top leadership talent and team effectiveness more than doubles the share of CEO’s (64%) who feel happy and confident about the effectiveness of their leadership teams.

While the benefits of significant higher leadership team effectiveness are clear, it is also clear that obtaining this requires commitment and investment. Working with talent and team effectiveness are not a one-time investment nor a “once-a-year-event”, but an ongoing priority for you and your leadership team members.

Finally, how you chose to approach this matter and application of best-practice methods for both talent management and building team effectiveness are important. Doing this right, you will not only shorten the time for improving, you will also multiply the impact in the end.

Leadership team effectiveness doesn’t come by itself and the question for you is: How much can be gained for your business and organisation if your leadership team becomes even more effective? Or put differently, how can you afford not to?



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+45 51 29 07 93
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