5 Blockers to Executive Team Performance

Research shows that 33% of an Executive’s time is spent responding to crises or problems. That’s 1 ½ days of each working week which is taken up by crises which are largely unplanned, unforeseen and out of the Executive’s control. How many Executives do you know who keep 1/3 of their diaries free each week to deal with these issues? No, I don’t know any either.

Given that the CEO today has to deal with a level of volatility and uncertainty that leaders before have never had to deal with, Executive team performance has never been so critical. How can he or she ensure he has the right team around him to pull together when the going gets tough?

Given our research and findings, there are 5 key challenges to developing a high performing Executive team:

1. Poor delivery. We found that the favoured vehicles for Executive development are workshops, special projects and coaching. However, fewer than 40% of UK leaders believe their leadership development programmes are effective (DDI, 2012). Make sure the delivery of any development to your team is evidence-based and up to date.

2. Culture. Traditional, hierarchical and bureaucratic management structures and approaches are not suited to cross-organisational learning. Research indicates that those organisations with a highly effective culture are three times more likely to outperform their competition …. yet less than 20% of managers believe they have a highly effective culture (DDI, 2012).  Does your culture allow for your executive team to develop and improve?

3. Flavour of the month. Many Executive development activities are based on a series of one-off programmes with no ‘golden threads’ running throughout. Research shows that any benefits gained from learning quickly dissipate once the formal events end …..unless there is continuous reinforcement (Blume, Ford, Baldwin and Huang 2010). Are you committed to a long-term change journey or are you looking for a quick fix?

4. Personalities. The power of personality is often ignored in Executive development programmes. We know that to be successful an Executive team needs to be self and emotionally aware yet most organisations fail to factor personality and behavioural analytics into their Executive development programmes. For example at Collingwood to help us do this we use Hogan Assessments, the global leader in Executive personality assessments (Laker and Powell, 2011). Have you included evidence-based analytics in your programme?

5. Content. Leadership development content is often not aligned to the actual skill set development requirements. This is mainly due to informal and unscientific approaches, such as individual  perceptions, being used to evaluate critical leadership development needs.  Are you confident in the knowledge, credibility and scientific approach of the consultancy you use, and that you are getting a personalised solution rather than a vanilla product?


Collingwood is a trusted advisor in acquiring, aligning and enabling leadership for strategic growth.  For further information on how we can help your business improve its organisational performance and board effectiveness, please contact Jennifer JonesDirector of Consultancy Services, on 01829 732374.







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