Friday, March 21, 2008

The secret to successful teams

I recently came across this nugget of wisdom, contained in one of the numerous newsletters and websites that come into our consultancy daily.

In the United States an annual top leadership team competition is hosted by HealthLeaders Media, aimed at idenitfying the most effective management teams in the health sector. Jim Molpus, from HealthLeader Media was asked, what are the secrets of top management teams?

Guess what his answer was. There are no secrets. Well buggar me, that's two of us in the world who understand that there hasn't been anything new in management techniques or strategies since the days of Aristotle. Despite the best efforts of publishers, the media and the ever-growing corps of self-styled, management gurus - the truth is out, there are no secrets. There is just common sense applied to tried and true processes of communication. For those that doubt me on this, try reading (or rereading) management books by Peter Drucker and Charles Handy. I know you will find them far more relevant and useful than anything else that has been published in the past twenty years.

There are however consistencies that appear in effective management teams and the people at HealthMedia have picked up on these over the years, and I am happy to share them with you here.

  • Consistency--Many of the winning Top Leadership Teams have had their core of senior leaders together for a period of several years, as many of the worthwhile goals in healthcare take as long to achieve.
  • No tolerance for silos--Winning Top Leadership Teams have found ways to break down traditional silos and barriers that can block healthcare organizations from achieving their goals.
  • Strong at the top, but not dominant--Winning leadership teams have highly-effective CEOs. But we have found that almost every winner over the first four years has had a CEO who delegated key strategic responsibilities to top team members, held them accountable for achieving these goals, but ultimately stayed out of the way.
  • Transparent--Winning teams in healthcare have to be transparent about what they are doing, who is doing it, and how success or failure is measured.
  • Be a quality organization--Top Leadership Teams create high quality organisations
How well does your organisation rate? The following are some of the things the competition judges look for when reviewing entries into the competition -

  • Teamwork exhibited among an organization's senior leaders to achieve stated operational goals/objectives
  • How a senior leadership team works together to effectively overcome any challenges/barriers encountered along the way to reaching its goals/objectives
  • The success of senior leadership in meeting the team's goals/objectives
I am interested to hear from anyone reading this blog entry. How does your organisation rate on the above criteria. Rate your organisation from 1 - 7 with 1 suggesting your organisation is about to do a 'warley' and disappear into the ranks of health providers that are no more and 7 meaning your CEO has just been invited to speak to an international conference on hospital management.

I would hope you would email me your ratings and criteria. I will keep the information to myself, or if I did use it I would seek permission first to do so.

Here are the criteria again -

  1. How well does your management team achieve stated goals and outcomes? 1 - 7
  2. How well does your management team work together to overcome barriers on its way to achieving the goals and outcomes? 1 - 7
  3. How well does your management team actually work as a team? 1 - 7
  4. How well does your team retain its core members over a prolonged period? 1 - 7
  5. How good is your management team at dismantling 'silo's and creating cross-functional collaboration? 1 -7
  6. How well does your CEO delegate tasks to key executives and hold them accountable for the outcomes? 1 -
  7. How well does your management team maintain transparency by monitoring outcomes and communicating successes and failures throughout the organisation? 1 - 7
  8. A quality organisation is one where all the above occur, where innovation and continuous improvement is encouraged and celebrated, where employees at all levels would recommend their friends work there and where ethical standards are met at all levels. How well would you rate your organisaton as a quality organisation? 1 - 7
I look forward to hearing from you.

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