How to Improve Your C‑suite Teamwork

BY Kathy Crosett
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We all know there is no “I” in the word "team." Managers spend plenty of time and effort reinforcing that message to employees. Isn’t it time for corporate leaders to apply the teamwork concept to themselves?

Earlier this year, Deloitte published its 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report. In talking about the rise of the social enterprise, analysts noted that improved C‑suite collaboration is an urgent issue for over half of surveyed organizations. Some of the pressure is coming from the new VUCA environment businesses find themselves in, says Julia Felton in a leadchangegroup​.com post. Business leaders must deal with a world filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

The Challenge

Back in the day, old-​school organizational design succeeded. CEOs issued orders to functional managers. These managers carried out tasks that kept factories running smoothly. In our high-​tech economy, disruption is the new normal. Business life cycles are short. And, few companies operate solely along functional lines.

The Solution

To thrive today, businesses must rely on a cohesive leadership team. Deloitte analysts urge CEOs to review “priorities for each C‑suite leader and determine how each can have an impact more broadly across the organization.” C‑suiters can increase their impact by “achieving followership among their peers.” The best way to ensure success is to assign C‑suiters cross-​functional projects.

Ask your execs in charge of customer service and technology to work together to design a system that delivers an improved client experience. What if your CMO and CIO pioneered a project to personalize your next digital marketing campaign? At the end of the project, they’d each have an understanding of the challenges faced by their peer. They’d also get to know each other a little better, and hopefully have an improved working relationship.

Your C‑suiters may have relied on their personal strengths to achieve career success. But, to successfully steer your business, they’ll need to improve their teamwork skills.