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I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly great teams throughout my career. But there’s one particular executive team that I’m supporting right now that really stands out, by a country mile.

(If you’re trying to guess who they are, not they’re not listed on my website!)

They are living proof that I’m a realist. Not an idealist.

They don’t view team development as something to be done once or twice a year at a nice hotel. They’re investing serious amounts of time to ‘work on the team’ every quarter regardless of COVID-19 and any other challenges they face.

If ever there was a team that could find legitimate reasons (excuses) for not having time to focus on the continued development their own leadership and teamwork capabilities, then this would be that team. Trust me.

But they’ve never de-prioritised it.

They’ve never cancelled or postponed an offsite.

Finding the Secret Sauce

Having focused heavily on their own leadership capability and teamwork, they are now turning their attention to the layer above them.

‘The layer above them?’, I hear you say.

Yes. But they’re not talking about their bosses.

They’re talking about those they lead. They refer to them as the ‘layer above’ because the idea of inverting the traditional, top-down organisational chart spoke to them on a deeply profound level.

They truly believe they are at the bottom, supporting and enabling everyone else to do their job. They see themselves as being in the service of those they lead.

Bravo, I say.

This particular leadership team’s aspiration is to move quickly towards shaping the future business and develop the ‘layer above’ to run today’s business.

There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about that vision, except for the fact that I have no doubt whatsoever they will succeed where so many others fail.

In order to get there, I’m helping them deconstruct and codify their approach to leadership and teamwork.

They are doing what so few teams do. They are looking to do a deep dive into the things that are going well so they can optimise them for continued, sustained success.

Bravo, I say again.

In other words, we’re looking for the secret sauce. And whilst we’ve not found their particular recipe yet, we’re starting to get clear on some of the ingredients. We know it includes:

• Talking to each other, a lot.
• Speaking frankly.
• Caring deeply about people.
• Being challenging, supportive and kind.
• Having a goal that could only be achieved together.

Once again, there’s nothing earth-shatteringly different in that list to hit you like a bolt from the blue.

But that’s the point. They are a team that is relentlessly focused on doing the basics brilliantly well.


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