One of the biggest challenges for owner managers is building a leadership team. Many business owners find it difficult to hand over the reins or struggle to find the right people for the job. Generally, the team cannot be built all at once but needs an approach that develops leaders and a team over time.
Without a strong leadership team, a business owner and the business will suffer – always reliant on the owner and the inability of the business to scale beyond a certain capacity.
Building a leadership team should be a core strategy that is implemented over time as the business develops. The following steps are a useful guide:
- Be clear on your business strategy and direction
The common phrase “structure follows strategy” is a good place to start. If you know where you’re headed, it’s much easier to start to define the structure and roles that are needed to support the business moving forward. Without direction, your structure will develop based on organic change or “busy-ness” – you will hire more people to help with day-to-day tasks rather than a strategic focus or plan.
- Define your structure now and into the future
Once you’re clear on your business direction, start to define the structure that supports it. Think about areas of the business that need to grow and develop, and the types of skills and expertise that support that growth. In most cases you wont be able to hire all of your leadership team at once, it will need to develop and adapt over time. Have a plan in place for the business structure now and into the future.
- Assess required skills and expertise
Start to develop a skills and expertise matrix associated with the various roles and responsibilities within your defined structure. This capability matrix should assess the skills that are required now and those that will be required in the future.
- Identify current leaders
Look for potential leaders within your business who possess the skills and qualities you need in line with your strategic direction and the skills matrix that you have developed. Consider their experience, skills, and track record of success in the organisation and alignment with the business needs moving forward. In many cases it may be easier to grow and develop an existing staff member than recruit externally.
- Communicate your vision & direction
Communicate your vision and structure moving forward to the developing leaders. Give them a sense of their role and how it fits with the overall direction of the business. Get their buy-in for what you’re trying to achieve.
- Clearly define focus, responsibilities, & KPIs
Once you have selected the potential leaders, be clear about the expectations for the roles and the impact they will have on the business moving forward. The more they are focused and responsible with clear KPIs, the more they will achieve.
- Provide support and training
Actively work to develop your leaders over time. On-the-job development can be the most effective method to enhance skills if it follows a planned and structured approach. Use mentors, coaching models, and work based projects to actively support, challenge and grow leaders over time. Targeted external training and development can also help speed up the process.
- Establish a regular leadership team meeting schedule
Set up regular meetings to plan, report and evaluate the performance of your leadership team members. Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” are a useful guide: Focus on Results, Hold Self and Others Accountable, Commit to Decisions, Unfiltered Constructure Debate, Transparent & Honest Environment.
Building a leadership team takes time and effort and is most effective when you have a planned approach. Don’t just leave it to chance! Without an empowered team you will find yourself stuck in your business and the value and scalability of your business will be limited.
As part of the Owner Manager Program we work with business owners to identify and build their leadership team. Having a support system that you can rely on and trust will be instrumental in helping owners reach their business and personal goals.
If you’re building a team and looking for leadership training for your senior managers, check out OM Leadership Program. Specifically designed for managers and senior staff of privately owned companies, participants will develop practical personal and business leadership skills.
They will return to the business energised, aligned and invigorated to drive the business forward.
For more information or to register your interest in attending, head to OM Leadership Program.