The Purpose of a Leadership Team
The purpose of a leadership team is an extension of the role of the leader. The basis is the same four tasks an individual leader has: setting direction, allocating resources, mobilizing people and resolving conflicts. The additional purpose of a leadership team is to generate an integrated framework addressing each discipline and process in the organisation, providing both guidance and freedom to operate. Defining and deciding on this framework by scoping the freedom and aligning on the boundaries is critical to guiding the Friction amongst people into a positive spiral of Value Creation.
Leadership through Friction
Mastering company-wide friction is a critical leadership capability and responsibility. Leaders set their people up for friction by grouping them in functions, processes and geographies and by having them share the overriding goal and giving them specific individual goals as well. The constructive collision of these expertises, perspectives and interests is the foundation of value creation. The downside becomes apparent when the differences cannot be bridged and internal countervailing powers emerge, resulting in destructive power politics and one group trying to dominate others. Organisation-wide leadership of Friction is an art and when done well, the source of undreamed growth through exploring creative new routes for value creation.
Leadership through Freedom in a Framework
The sine-qua-non of healthy friction to work out well is setting a framework, which balances space and limitation in an explicit, inspiring and safe way. Explicit in the sense that it should leave little doubt to what it entails. Inspiring in the sense that individuals experience their uniqueness to be valued because there is space to manifest themselves. Safe in the sense that the boundaries of the framework ensure all involved stay close enough to one another and not lose sight of each other or work in too many different directions.
The four key elements of such a framework are: the Winning Business Concept (how to make the difference in the market vis-à-vis competition), the Key Business Processes (including the subsequent decision-making authorities, the process of taking a decision), the Values and subsequent Behaviours, and last but not least, the Organisation Design (the structure, the allocation of numbers of people and budgets, the interfaces, the meeting structure – critical meetings, main agenda, participants, frequency).