In this world of corporate culture, Patrick Lencioni is a stand-out when it comes to clear, simple books that explain a nebulous concept. This winter the management team at Kitchen Kettle Village zeroed in on The 4 Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. The book is a fable about a gentleman who can’t understand why his competitor is so far ahead of him when the skill levels and competencies of the two companies seem to be so similar.
The first obsession Lencioni discusses is a cohesive leadership team. That cohesiveness best shows up in meetings and conversations. How much does each of your leaders trust each other? Are the conversations at meetings open, honest and fierce as Susan Scott would say? Are new ideas welcomed and do they represent a fun, fresh possibility or just another thing to add to my “to do” list? Does each leader really care about the other ones? Are the suggestions supporting a common, agreed upon direction or are they somewhere off in left field?
Rowing the boat in the same direction is the only way to get where you’re going. Just like a crew team, the leadership team at Kitchen Kettle Village checks in with each other to establish a rhythm and knows where the finish line is – at least for this season’s race.
The best thing is how much fun it is to work on a team that is in sync. And once you’ve established your rhythm, the organizational clarity (as evidenced by the vision, mission and values I’ve talked about since beginning this Corporate Culture section of Kettle Talk) comes easily. Communicating that clarity is the next big task, but I’ll leave that for another day.
Leadership team facilitation is so fascinating. In my consulting role at Kitchen Kettle and at North Group Consultants, it’s my favorite part of an assignment. Tell me about a team you’re on that leads an organization – any organization, a PTO, a company, a committee at church, wherever. Then tell me what you do to make sure you’re all rowing the boat in the same direction.