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Five obstacles to leadership team effectiveness
 

Five obstacles to leadership team effectiveness

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Marco Avila, the General Manager of Human Resources at the Maersk Central America Cluster, and his leadership team together plays a vital role in the operations of Maersk Line, a global shipping ...

Marco Avila, the General Manager of Human Resources at the Maersk Central America Cluster, and his leadership team together plays a vital role in the operations of Maersk Line, a global shipping enterprise responsible for nearly 16 percent of containerized clientele through the Panama Canal. The challenge associated with being part of such a large, global entity is the requirement to align with the vision, strategies, and goals coming from Maersk headquarters in Denmark, while simultaneously responding to emerging competitive conditions in the local Central America market.

In this webinar, we will discuss how Marco and his team developed a leadership strategy to become an elite team that could effectively respond to any emergent condition and corporate expectation. To become an elite team, this group learned how to operate like a SWAT team, overcoming the following five common obstacles to leadership team effectiveness:

· Functional Team Primacy
· Lack of Unifying Common Goal
· Strategic Misalignment
· Internal Competition among Team Members
· Lack of Trust

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  • Removed from slide: How did one team responsible for 16 percent of the cargo shipments through the Panama Canal transform from a group of talented functional leaders with difficulty working together into high-performance SWAT team?Linda: "So Marco, tell us how you first had the idea for doing some extended work with your leadership team." Marco: "Well, after two years of individual 360s, our leaders had been able to address some items, but in the area of teamwork, we were still having some difficulty. Our general manager and I were committed to creating a well-functioning team, and we knew it wasn't just going to happen by focusing at the individual level.”Our cluster had received lots of recognition for being a good team – chosen pilot programs – functional experts. It doesn’t matter if are good at what you do …”
  • Linda: “In the process of our working together, we identified 5 major obstacles to team effectiveness. We’ll talk about these in detail, but in your mind Marco, what do you believe was the biggest obstacle for your leadership team?”Marco: “We are 10 senior leaders, including our General Manager, and each of has our own obstacles to overcome. But as a group, I would say it was a lack of understanding and trust. It’s not that we didn’t think each other made strong contributions, but we didn’t trust each other to have our backs. Internal competition was also a big one for us.”Linda: “I agree. All of these obstacles were at play at some level, but lack of trust and internal competition were the big ones.”Linda: “Let’s see what our listeners think about the teams they are working with or on. What are the primary obstacles to your team’s effectiveness?”
  • Linda: “You can vote by …”Share results.
  • Linda: “Marco, let’s talk about how we discovered the issues facing your team. We didn’t just assume what the issues were, we did our homework. In fact, you were really proactive about it.”Marco: “Yes, a couple of years ago our headquarters office made 360s available for leaders worldwide, and when that opportunity became available, my general manager and I started the process for the leaders on our management team. We did 360s, and for most of us it was the first time going through this process. Each of us had the opportunity to go through our own reports with you, Linda, and that started our journey. – Expound on creating a culture of feedback – feedback doesn’t have to be painful.”Linda: “We initially started by supporting the development of individual leadership development plans, which I worked through with each person. They took it quite seriously and began addressing some of the difficulties they were experiencing with each other.”Marco: “They found that experience really beneficial. I heard back from them about how excited they were to have the feedback AND the opportunity to do something about it in a very positive way,”Linda: “And you used best practice, which is what you and your GM consistently try to do, right?”Marco: “Yes, that’s right. We followed up with pulse surveys to make sure everyone was actually doing something with their survey results We also held focus groups with our employee to ensure they understood how seriously we were taking their feedback.Linda: “So you kept the feedback loop open, encouraged progress, and then followed up again at the one year mark.Marco: “Yes, at one year, we repeated the 360 survey process and work with you, Linda. This is the point at which we knew that we had some team issues that were not going to be resolved through individual effort. We needed to address the issues as a team. We looked at various options and chose to continue to work with you, Linda, because you knew us already, and all of us were confident that you could help us get to the next level.”Linda: “That was a happy moment for me because I was really excited about working with your team. What I saw was courage and a strong commitment from everyone involved. They really wanted to be part of becoming a high-functioning team, right?”Marco: “Yes, we were already producing good results, but we knew we could be better and we wanted to be. We were ready.”
  • Linda: “Ok, so after working with individual leaders on their 360s, we were able to see some group dynamics that were problematic and were not going to resolve themselves. I recommended some additional assessments including a Team Effectiveness survey plus a few self assessments that would identify personal leadership styles when it came to self awareness, communications, information gathering, decision making, values, and behaviors. I also conducted 30-minute interviews with each leader to get their perspectives.”Marco: “Yes, we really liked the way you approached this. Each of us felt heard. We felt understood and appreciated. In the first workshop you did with the team, we learned a lot about ourselves and each other. We saw from the data what the sources were of some of the problems that haunted us, even when we were doing our best to work well with each other.”Linda: “Starting with data is so important. It captures everyone’s focused attention, and it allows us to talk about uncomfortable things that need to be addressed openly.”Marco: “That’s right. The data got our attention, and we didn’t run away from it.”Linda: “No. You stayed in some tough conversations with me … we opened up a new level of honesty, didn’t we?”Marco: “Yes, the data was essential to the change process.”
  • Linda: “Let me give just a brief overview of the assessments we used …”Marco: “For us, a big ‘A-HA’ moment was related to the impact our personal style preferences had on other aspects of our team dynamic. We discovered that we were judging each other harshly based on our own ways of working instead of flexing our styles to ensure each leader could offer his maximum value to the team and to the business. Once we recognized this, we could choose to think and behave differently.”Linda: “One example I saw of this was …”
  • What it looks like:The first team I think about is the functional team I manageI care deeply about how any decision, policy, or opportunity affects these team membersI argue from this point of viewHow to address it: Decide that my first team is my leadership/management teamSupport my colleagues both verbally and by my actions; don’t allow others to talk negatively about them without stepping inDevelop the ability to switch vantage points and see things from different points of view; support management team decisions wholeheartedlyLinda: “OK Marco, I think everyone has a sense of the good homework we did – our foundation for the work we did together. Let’s talk briefly about each of the team obstacles, how it might manifest itself, and give an example from our experience together. The first is ”Functional Team Primacy. It manifests itself as functional self interest–on the leadership team, I am not a team player.”Marco: “My leadership team members had to make a conscious choice to make the leadership team our ‘first team.’ We spent some time figuring out what that means in terms of behavior, and we created some rules of engagement for ourselves, including that we would never talk negatively about each other, and we would stand up for each others if we ever heard one of our team members being badmouthed. We’re not perfect with this, but we’re getting there. We take it very seriously.”Linda: “This was a major breakthrough for your team. Identifying the heart of the issue, deciding what was appropriate behavior, and then following through and holding each other accountable.”Marco: “It was big. And Linda, you put us through some tough exercises that you designed just for us – experiences that ensured we had the skill AND the will to see things through each others eyes.”
  • What it looks like: Competing team functional team goalsLittle coordination of efforts among functional teamsLots of surprisesHow to address it:Align on an overarching team goal that requires all functional teams to supportModel collaborative behaviorMinimize surprises to peersGive each other the benefit of the doubt – support firstLinda: “The next obstacle to team effectiveness is the Lack of a Team Goal. You had a crystal clear operational goal, so what was missing here?”Marco: “What we realized was that the overarching operational goal was not enough. It covered only the “WHAT” we wanted to achieve and not the HOW and WHY. During the process of working with you, Linda, we clarified our expectations of each other on becoming an “ELITE TEAM” that could deliver in a well-coordinated and mutually supportive way on ANY operational goal. This was another major breakthrough for us.”
  • What it looks like:Different strategic messages coming from each leader/managerCompensation based on mutually exclusive goalsLeaders/managers running their own agendasHow to address it: Align not only to the overarching goal, but to the way of achieving itCompensation supportive of first team achievementLeaders/managers putting aside personal objectives for the good of the teamLinda: “Related to the Lack of a Common Goal, Strategic Misalignment was another issue.”Marco: “Yes, this is also related to the Functional Team Primacy and the misalignment of functional goals. The way we had thing set up didn’t allow us to WIN TOGETHER. In order for one functional group to “succeed,” another had to “fail.” KPIs were colliding. Now we do calibrations so we can discuss which KPIs are most important for the whole group. We are aligning cross-functionally so that the most important goal for all of us is the same. We’re doing a better job of coordinating our efforts, which means our messaging is aligned and integrated. For the first time ever, our sales and customer service groups feel like they are “one team,” and this is because of the change in perception and behavior of their leaders.”Linda: “You’re getting great feedback from your teams about this …”Marco: “They can hardly believe it.” Give an example …
  • What it looks like: Overt self-promotion; taking credit in all casesKeeping each other in the darkCriticizing each other behind their backsHow to address it: Confident humility; sharing credit with peers if possibleOpen, direct, frequent communicationLeaders/managers representing each others’ perspectives; having each others’ backsLinda: “OK, Marco, Internal Competition was also at play in the Maersk Caribbean Sea Cluster. This happens at most organizations because of the way people get promoted to the senior team. They really are perceived as the best in their function. They are usually highly competitive go-getters, hard working, well connected, smart, experienced, open with their opinions. Some call themselves “Alphas.”Marco: “Right. They all know their stuff. They are good at what they do. And they want to be seen as THE BEST.”Linda: “This is another place where your Rules of Engagement have helped. Team members now have established “norms” for what and how to communicate, and for what else to expect from each other. The critical factor here is that your GM is committed to each of his team members becoming “business leaders” rather than just functional leaders. He is setting a stellar example for maintaining his leadership presence – and the respect from his team – without being jealous of his own power. He’s fearless in this space.”Marco: “He is courageous. He is also smart, direct, honest, and absolutely clear about his intention that each of us be at the top of our games, both functionally and as part of the Elite Team. He wants us to make a real difference.”
  • What it looks like:Information sharing-only meetings; surface skimMisunderstanding or negative assumptions about othersMinimal communication (usually when it can’t be avoided)How to address it:Make it safe to talk openly – to dig into the issuesAsk what’s obvious to the other that’s not obvious to youBefore assuming motive, think about the other’s stylistic preferencesLinda: “Ok, last one. This was another big one for you.”Marco: “This is the area where we’ve made the biggest shift. It is also the most difficult to address because so much history and habit are in the way of us really trusting each other.”Linda: “We’ve been working on it now for six months. What did we do that caused the biggest breakthrough?”Marco: “We are now working on Vision and Mission – what we want to be known for in 5 years from now – this is a leadership projects that we would have never undertaken if not for going through this process with you Linda.”
  • Linda: “In Summary …”Linda: “Thank you for joining me to present this webinar today, Marco. Is there anything you would like to add?”Marco: “Yes ….”
  • Linda: “In summary …”
  • Linda: “Thank you for joining us today. Marco and I are available to answer any questions you may have about the team development process, 360s, or any other question this webinar may have inspired. We look forward to hearing from you.”

Five obstacles to leadership team effectiveness Five obstacles to leadership team effectiveness Presentation Transcript

  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 1 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Five Obstacles to Leadership Team Effectiveness Marco Avila HR General Manager Maersk Central America Cluster Linda Linfield Global Practice Lead Team Effectiveness & Leadership Development DecisionWise, Inc.
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 3 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. About Maersk Maersk has been the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996.
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 4 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. 5 Obstacles to Team Effectiveness Functional Team Primacy Lack of Unifying Common Goal Strategic Misalignment Internal Competition among Team Members Lack of Trust
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 6 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Data to get beyond assumptions and find out what is actually happening. Courage and Commitment from Senior Leadership to lead the team in facing the issues. Willingness to Change based on each person realizing and accepting his or her complicity in creating the current situation. Desire to and belief that your efforts will make a difference To discover the issues, you need . . .
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 7 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Let’s talk about Maersk . . . What data helped us identify the issues? How did we initially use the data?
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 8 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. What data helped identify issues? • Identified gaps in perception; highlighted difficulty among peers; helped prioritize group focus areas Leadership 360 & Team Effectiveness Survey • Personal approach to gathering information, making decisions, and communicating Style Preference Assessment • Our preferences for dealing with difference Conflict Resolution Self-Assessment • Degree of self-awareness and proficiency in self-regulation Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 9 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Functional Team Primacy
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 10 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Lack of a Unifying Team Goal
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 11 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Strategic Misalignment
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 12 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Internal Competition
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 13 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Lack of Trust
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 14 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. How Each Issue is Being Resolved
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 15 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. An Iterative Process Data/Observation Conversation Self-Awareness Resolve to do/be better Accountability, reinforcement, continuous improvement
  • www.decision-wise.com | +1.801.960.1400 16 Copyright © 2013 DecisionWise, Inc. All rights reserved. Linda Linfield, DecisionWise llinfield@decision-wise.com Marco Avila, Maersk Central America marco.avila@maersk.com Tel. +1.801.960.1400 www.decision-wise.com Contact us