How Executives Build Strategic Teams

The CEO, and the Board, have some positive frontiers to navigate with strategic teams that are prepared, highly engaged and resolved.

Strategic Team Design and Development

Effective strategic team design brings together strategy, talent and culture in ways that drive both potential and progress. In a design-driven sense, strategic teams should be prepared and resolved to advance the work of making strategy happen with a sense of:

• The Purpose, Vision and Mission of the Organization

  • ongoing reflection, discernment

• The Conditions, Boundaries, Challenges, Factors in Play

  • ongoing attention, assessment

• The Availability and Readiness of Talent Supply Chains

  • continuous development, review

• The Objectives, Context for Success and Progress Markers

  • definition and navigation, measures

• The Development, Management and Governance Practice

  • ongoing accountability, control

Talent is the raw material for making strategy happen. While executives and leaders may talk talent all day, are people truly matched-up with the organization’s strategic agenda, in terms of competence, motivation, relationships and confidence? Strategic teams represent collections of individual talent, carefully blended together for the broader strategic work to be done. Less focused and thoughtful teams tend to lack these traits, or mismatch their capabilities and goals.

Talent Blocks and Beams

Beginning with a critical focus on different types of competence and work temperament, we can think about the range of talent gathered together in strategic teams.

Technical – Subject matter knowledge and mastery

Analytic – Data sensing and data system connections

Creative – Constructive imagination, idea management

Resource – Effective management of critical assets

Solution – Deconstruction and resolution of problems

Relational – Bringing out the best in others, groups

These may seem like common perspectives and groupings of capacity and competence. However, these individual Talent Blocks come together as structural and behavioral assets, and as context for development. The purpose-driven match of Talent Blocks and the blend of individual and group temperament and behavior is critical.

The Talent Blocks and Beams idea surrounds these six talent sets with “vertical” experience and category expertise, as well as a range of “horizontal” perspectives that reflect character and motivation, awareness and confidence, influence and appreciation, and other aspects of maturity and social capacity. These are the organization’s Soft Skills and Hard Skills, cultivated together.


Culture as a Platform and Informant of Strategy

 At one level or another, corporate culture is a foundation of strategic and economic value. Culture can be explored as an expression that conveys stakeholders “what we stand for and where we’re headed” as an enterprise. These speak to the everyday thought and behavior of people who are responsible for making strategy happen. Culture can be viewed as an informant of the company’s Strategic Agenda, and as a platform for team engagement. These themes provide goal posts for the leadership of strategy and culture, and make people more or less capable, more or less motivated, more or less inspired, and more or less engaged in making strategy happen.

Other factors influence the specifics of strategic team design and development. The nature of the enterprise, the conditions of the marketplace, the norms of executive leadership and management, the nature of strategy engagement across the enterprise all serve to temper how strategic teams operate. The deliberate practice and maturity of the enterprise also have a part in senior leadership team design and development. There are other indirect influences as well.

 Takeaway Challenges and Comments

 The depth and reach of an organization depend more and more on strategic teams in different forms. These serve to power growth, performance and change. They rise beyond the functional views of the organization’s structure and they focus on the real elements of collaboration, speed, trust and accountability. The CEO, and the Board, have some positive frontiers to navigate with strategic teams that are prepared, highly engaged and resolved. This is important at the senior leadership team level, and throughout the organization.

Read more: Leading and Inspiring Executive Teams In Times Of Change


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