Published by CPA Canada in CareerVision
It’s been said that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. This statement has never been truer than in today’s business world. As our global environment continues to grow and becomes increasingly complex, so must the many companies that seek to meet the needs of customers and stay ahead of the competition; in the absence of doing so, they will cease to be relevant. As a result, leading businesses must continuously improve what they do and develop and offer the products and services that best fit with a rapidly changing world and ever discriminating consumer. There’s no doubt that a high level of bench strength is required in order to do so.
Seasoned executives recognize that one of the most powerful components for generating success is a high calibre team, both at a senior level and throughout an organization. It is through great minds, creativity, and heartfelt commitment that teams can soar to achieve uncommon things, to the benefit of the company and the consumers that they serve. In these types of situations, barriers are overcome, new ways to do things are found, and true market leaders are made. Team members recognize the unique component that they bring, and have the right attitude for encouraging the success of others, realizing that empowered groups can truly achieve more than individuals. What is critical, however, is a talented leader to bring it all together.
In this series, we have already considered the importance of a number of Executive Edge skills, including generating results, role engagement, and professional development. Here’s more about why successful executives understand how critical it is to surround themselves with high calibre people, always.
Where it Goes Wrong
One of the biggest threats to putting together a high calibre team is ego, closely followed by insecurity; there’s really no other way to say it. When business leaders take the focus away from what’s in the best interest of the company and instead dwell on their own personal needs, making the right decisions can become elusive. This is best illustrated by asking the question “why wouldn’t a business leader want to be surrounded by the absolute best people they can find?” The answer, too often, relates to their own personal issues.
Although it might seem exciting to have a group of less accomplished people take direction and follow without question, this situation can quickly run its course, especially when competitive challenges, risks, and complicated issues arise (and, they will. This is the business world!). A loyal, but poorly equipped team of can quickly end up over its head, with few resources that have the capability to help the company survive the situation. It’s at times like this when a business leader might look around and see lots of faithful colleagues, but little in the way of actual help. And, as the ship slowly sinks, the realization that leadership is often judged by results brings into clear focus that success in business is much more about meeting customer needs than personal ones.
Get the Executive Edge
Striving for success on an individual level might be what’s needed to make career progress; however, the senior leadership level is much more about assembling a stellar team and working effectively to generate results. Here’s how to shift your mindset and get started:
- Define your strengths. Recognize what your best talents are and articulate them well, as this knowledge will help to identify your best team role. This is no different than determining if you play best at forward, defence, or “in net”. Make a commitment and move forward from there.
- There is no “I” in TEAM. Perhaps a cliché, but it’s true. Being successful as a high calibre team member is understanding what your strengths are and bringing them into the group. Integrate, participate, collaborate, and achieve results, together.
- Focus on the business perspective. Objectives should be derived from what’s in the best interest of the company, and this generally comes from what customers and the marketplace want and need. Position the business for success and then focus on getting there, without interference from the inside.
- Recognize the learning benefits. Being in a room with lots of smart and accomplished people is a great learning opportunity, and the knowledge that you gain is portable and can be taken wherever you go. Think about it: spending your career years in a learning environment is so much better than the alternative.
- Soar. Perhaps, the greatest feeling in the business world: supreme success! Earn it, live it, enjoy it, and then, repeat. This is what successful companies (and teams) do.
The day will come when you will be looking back on your career, instead of looking forward. Ask yourself what you most want your achievements to reflect. If real success is at the top of the list, chances are, it will only be achieved if you are able to be part of a “super smart” team that will challenge its members in the spirit of getting to the best result. If you’ve been there, you wouldn’t have missed it for anything else.