Team or Groupthink?
Self Interest or Business Interest?
United or Disjointed?
What is an Executive Team?
There are 2 dominant outcomes from the research conducted about the Myth of the Team at the Top.
The first was unpacked in our blog last month entitled “Why it is Lonely at the Top”.
Although the blog is certainly worth a read, the synopsis is that those who have promoted themselves to the top do exactly that. They move themselves forwards. Companies promote individuals, not teams.
To reach an executive level, there is a need to outperform your peers so that you achieve. Therefore, the concept of their being a team at the top is improbable: Each Executive is driving themself, their own performance and that of their departments to ensure their own success.
The second strain of research says almost the exact opposite – although the outcome of this also negates the characteristics of a team:
Chris Argyris from Harvard states that the majority of organisations reward those who endorse the views of those at the top. Those who play devil’s advocate or consider alternatives to the agreed decisions are punished.
He draws on examples such as Nintendo that was completely overshadowed by Microsoft’s Xbox, and Kodak and Blockbuster whose management teams were in such agreement about the sustainability of their products that they stagnated while technology dominated the market.
Argyris cites Senge as saying: It’s absolutely imperative that leaders give plenty of room in the organisation for folks who constantly rock the boat but often come up with some of the most creative ideas that can be tested and potentially exploited in the marketplace.
Be it personal advancement or groupthink, it seems that the fundamental components of a team are shattered the higher up the ladder you go.
With one click, you can discover how to ensure that your executive team functions as a team.