Shifting the Paradigm of Executive Development from Individual to Team

by Mona Mitchell

Executive development in Canada – let alone elsewhere – needs a major overhaul. From individual to team.

Think about it. Can’t we all recognize the methods by which we typically grow executive “team” capability? You know. The Monday morning parade back to the workplace – everyone declaring their latest insights about how to convert strategy into action, supported by an elegantly-articulated vision together with an unquestionable set of values that will henceforth be daily evidenced in the behaviour of every senior leadership member…Promise…

Leaving the mass of employees to wonder what were their role-models doing while they were whisked off to fabulous retreat settings. For all the beauty of each intricately-carved syllable, nowhere is this renewed commitment demonstrated in greater executive team alignment – let alone amongst departments across the organization.

So, what’s missing?

For one, it was understandable during the Recession’s severe constraints, that businesses everywhere focused significant energies on removing extraneous costs. As we begin to prevail against daunting economic forces, we are long overdue to shift old developmental paradigms. It’s time to focus on growth, market share and sales.

Instead of treating executives as ‘islands’ unto themselves, we need to view them as a ‘web’. Rather than buy into “every one for themselves”, let’s act on the reality that the the business intelligence embodied in our executives works best when the entire network is brought to bear on a business challenge.

Similarly, executives need to reach unequivocal trust, engagement and collaboration with each other by linking individual efforts to those of their peers. Enough of the millions spent annually on individual coaching! Where has that really gotten us? The focus needs to be on team development coaching.

The executives we’re privileged to work with as clients report their frustration with models founded upon individual goal attainment. These leaders recognize that sustained organizational and personal achievement (and reward) derives from the application of collective energy based on team strategy execution and true results ownership across the team.

At ACHIEVEBLUE we work with senior leadership teams in order to help make this a reality. Our partnership with Presidents of Enterprising Organizations has helped us develop an executive development program unlike any other. Based on peer-to-peer mentoring, instead of always focusing externally, the program focuses going within to leverage personal commitment and behavioural change as well as organizational capacity. For more information on this program, click here.

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