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Strategic Leadership: Steps to Developing a High-Performance Executive Team

Strategic executive teams have many responsibilities, but most importantly, they must continuously cultivate an environment that fosters leadership development. Leadership teams are able to successfully implement and promote this type of culture by taking just a few foundational steps.

Business leaders sitting in the conference room

Identify Organizational Needs and Opportunities

A leadership team must have a clear perspective of what lies ahead for an organization, including both potential threats and future opportunities. In order to confidently invite other future leaders to join a company, they must first formulate a clear vision of what their ultimate purpose is.

Having an united front will streamline decisions, better capitalize on opportunities, and identify needs that could hinder the team from achieving its goals.

A company’s needs, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, must be properly handled in order for a company to thrive. Implementing systems to address both small and large scale needs will allow top-level workers to easily address problems and formulate possible solutions.

Small needs may be simple department budget adjustments or internal communication changes, while needs on a larger scale can range from insufficient facilities, significant brand alterations, or even production malfunction.

Conversely, opportunities can cause unique complications of their own. Potential mergers, acquisitions, business model adaptations, and high-profile hires could be huge for an organization – opening new revenue streams and untapped markets. However, these opportunities can also tear a company apart, making it crucial that a common goal is established and understood by all leaders.

Create Individualized Development Plans

Once leadership has determined the company’s course, it can turn its attention to leadership development. To best develop leadership potential within an organization, intentional effort must be spent to identify and then train future leaders.

Individuals demonstrating leadership abilities are incredible assets, but without opportunities to develop, they will remain underutilized. Even worst, they will grow stagnate or search for other positions with more growth capacity.

Top-level executives must earnestly invest in their potential leaders to ensure their development. Any leadership development program, no matter how structured or informal, should involve:

● Identifying potential candidates
● Providing mentorship, courses, or coaching to equip them with necessary skills
● Developing their expertise by putting them in situations where they must apply their leadership skills

Situations range from assignments, projects, and even formal positions that require more leadership responsibilities.

Regardless of the development plan implemented, it should incorporate an objective method of evaluation. This allows the protege a chance to receive feedback on his or her performance, process questions or problems, and regroup.

Avoid Groupthink or Cliques

Nothing will repel aspiring leaders more than an executive team fostering a non-collaborative or an uncommunicative environment. A team that does not invite questions, out-of-the-box perspectives, or encourage mutual respect for every member will ultimately lead to distrust and potential power wars.

To preserve healthy dynamics and communication, a team must be willing to accept each member’s opinion as equally important.

An effective leadership team must also be open to outside contributions and opinions to their problem-solving efforts. Whether this is contracted help, consultants, mid-level management, or hiring new talent to promote new ideas and fresh perspectives – to reach the best decisions, they must be willing to consider more voices.

Effectively Manage Talent

The reality is simple: talent sets high-performing companies apart from mediocre ones.

Companies that attract, foster, and retain top talent, effectively incorporating them into their team can outperform otherwise-advantaged companies. A team built with passion, problem-solving abilities, and high levels of aptitude can overcome a host of other deficiencies.

Talent management involves maintaining a clear, compelling vision for the direction of the company – offering leadership development and giving talented people leeway to make autonomous decisions. By creating a culture where talent can thrive, your company will experience dividends in growth, profitability, and accomplishment.

Executive teams are in a position to foster growth for future, efficient leaders. Strategic leadership does not mandate holding all the power for those at the top – but rather it facilitates the development of other leaders in the most wide-reaching, comprehensive, and intentional way possible.

The executive teams that most effectively execute this model will ultimately lead the best, brightest, and most innovative companies.

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