Executive Team Development

  • Does your executive team perform at its full potential?
  • How do you overcome persistent turf battles in the top team?
  • How do members contribute to ineffective dynamics in your executive team?
  • How does the organisation perceive your top team's leadership performance?
  • How do you build a resilient top team facing negative business dynamics?

Client challenges

Amongst all forces shaping the dynamics within an organisation, the team at the top is the most critical one: Organisations have a strong inclination towards re-enacting the attitudes and behaviours of their leadership team. Thus, aligned, effective top teams are the key driver for organisational performance.

High performing teams at the top, however, are a rare species. Why? The great talents and proven track records of the individual members are potential building blocks of a "Top Team Paradox": Representation dynamics, hidden or open turf issues, and shifting loyalties are typical forces that work against team alignment. This is why top teams often face the risk to get stuck. As a result, the team asset remains under-leveraged and the performance potential untapped – starting at the top and trickling throughout the organisation.

Typical situations we are asked to step in…

  • Shifting the top team's practices and dynamics towards high effectiveness
  • Developing the executive team's performance in new business unit structure
  • Aligning the new executive team in post-merger situation
  • Improving executive team collaboration cross-functional and cross-cultural
  • Enabling the executive team to thrive after change in ownership structure.

Our expertise

To fully leverage the team asset at the top, executive teams have one critical lever at hand: disciplined thought and disciplined collaboration based on enhanced team awareness. Working with top teams through a tailor-made diagnostics of their specific team dynamics, we provide new lenses for a deeper understanding of the underlying complex forces that drive individual behaviours.

We see top team disfunctions occuring naturally for reasons like lack of trust, avoidance of conflict, weakness of commitment, inattention to joint results. In addition, each team is driven by its very own unique dynamic, rooted in personal, interpersonal and systemic patterns and the interplay in-between. By enhancing team awareness, we build the fundament that enables teams to cope with those specific dysfunctional dynamics that hamper team performance.

With our unique social technique, we effectively translate the often avoided soft team issues into hard, managerial issues. We combine our proven, proprietary instruments – like the Top Team Dynamics Model, the Top Team Performance Review and the Top Team Leadership Review – to trigger structured reflection and dialogue within the team for measurable, positive results, depending on the issue at hand.

Client benefit

In working with us, executive teams…

  • get a managerial view on the specific team dynamics that hamper performance
  • understand the critical relation between team dynamics and business success
  • reflect the drivers and contributions of each member to the team dynamics
  • get multi-perspective feedback on their "leadership shadow" in the organisation
  • thus, they know how to leverage the critical drivers for top team effectiveness to create lasting results.
Great to learn from Jim Collins in London

"OK – so, who has looked in the mirror this morning and saw one of those visionary, larger-than-life leaders?" In his first interactive Leadership Session in Europe since 20 years, Jim Collins got it straight at the start! NOBODY, nobody should ever stop learning. Exactly this learner’s attitude and curiosity enabled him to define The #1 differentiating step from "Good to Great" – "Level 5 Leadership". Indeed, he wanted to take "Leadership" off his research agenda and had to question his own basic assumptions as he learned quite the contrary from his team: It is Level 5 Leadership, framed as Personal Humility, that makes a Great Leader – quite a challenge to the heroic leadership attitudes that we often observe. To create motivation and buy-in effectively and lasting, leaders have to neglect their ego and focus on the purpose: "Personal Humility channels the energy to the cause, not the person. Thus, make people follow the cause, not the person!"

Integrating Google's Mindfulness Practices

"Search Inside Yourself", an awareness training developed for Google to enhance personal growth, is nowadays an integral part of our clients' Leadership Camps and Leadership Teaching. We had the privilege to take part in the first European training in Berlin, today offered in multiple major cities across Europe. It is a refreshing practical reference to Daniel Goleman who taught us years ago about the power of Emotional Intelligence. What sticks still in our minds? Well, learning to be in the "here + now" takes time, endless efforts, it doesn’t come easily – thus, it's best if you do it with a benevolent "grandmotherly mind"! When your thoughts start wandering around and you need to refocus your attention to the breathing, do it with a light heart and a smile. Remember: What was your grandmother’s reaction when she found her sofa covered with coloured hands from your paintbox – while you were hiding, feeling guilty? "Oh, never mind, that’s alright, my darling, you creative little artist". Yes, that's a "grandmotherly mind", forgiving, generous, tender, loving!

Digitization and "good old things" at HHL

At HHL Forum 2017 on "Leadership in the Digital Age" at Leipzig Graduate School of Management, we had the pleasure to talk to Prof. August-Wilhelm Scheer, "the" pioneer on digitized processes. Scheer was just appointed to the "Hall of Fame of German Research" for his unique Integration of innovation spirit and entrepreneurship. He highlighted that digitization will have one major impact, not to be underestimated: to gain time and energy for "the good old things", like sharing experience, personal coaching, building relationships, talking to each other. This hits the core of our work: For us, leadership in the digital age is all about enabling and empowering individuals and people networks throughout the organization to collaborate for innovation and superior results.

Our Executive Training on Leadership at HHL

Leading your Self; Leading your Team; Leading your Organization - this is the core of our Executive Programme on Leadership at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management that we will teach in May 2018. Again we will focus our teaching and interactive learning for a group of international executives on our major goals: The executive students will learn... to reflect one's personal contribution to effective/ ineffective leadership; to understand the strengths and weaknesses of specific leadership styles; to analyze real-life leadership challenges within teams and organisations based on state-of-the-art theory. The programme uses a combination of lectures, group discussions, self reflection, case studies, small team assignments and action learning – highly effective and appreciated by the executives as the high gradings in course evaluation feed back!

7th series of our Top 100 Leadership Camps

In 2018 we will run our next Leadership Camp series for another one of our clients. Again, we design and run this Leadership Camp in 6 waves with our client’s Top 100. We will work with small cross-functional groups of 15-20 managers, focussing on two major goals: 1. "Aligning the Top 100 Management Team" to jointly reflect and adapt behaviours according strategy and to collaborate more effectively; 2. "Developing the individual’s leadership capabilities" to enhance self-reflection and personal growth and to connect on a personal level for trustful relationships. Enriched by state-of-the-art knowledge and Insead Group Coaching, the Camps are a unique, highly appreciated and effective blend of small team assignments, group discussions, self-reflection based on 360° feedback reports, open peer feedback, case studies, action learning, and Google’s Mindfulness Practices. As "culture is behaviour", our Leadership Camps serve not only as a powerful engine for culture transformation. The Camps serve also as a highly powerful lever for bringing and keeping strategy alive, recalling Peter Drucker’s famous warning "culture eats strategy for breakfast"!

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