Anchor Down or Anchor Up?

Imagine a speedboat on a glass-smooth lake on a calm, sunny day. The captain guns the throttle and the boat takes off.  Except it doesn’t, because the captain forgot to raise the anchor. Instead of cruising rapidly across the lake, the boat lurches in fits and starts as the anchor skips across the bottom of the lake.

That’s what it’s like when a Leadership Team doesn’t have the right people around the table.  Getting the Right People in the Right Seats across the Leadership Team is like raising that anchor.  The business just takes off.

In this Blog I am going to talk a little about what it means to be part of a Leadership Team.  And the answer might not be what you think.

In Focus Day (the first session I lead with a new client) one of the first things we do is define the structure of the Leadership Team.

In EOS, the Leadership Team consists of the Visionary (if there is one), the Integrator and the people who report to the Integrator – the leaders of the Key Functions of the business.

Even across a muti-year journey with a client, defining the Leadership Team in Focus Day is often the most challenging and emotionally stressful thing I ever do with that team.

Often, that challenge arises because people misunderstand the significance of being on the Leadership Team. People perceive being part of the Leadership Team as a show of their status or importance to the organization – a recognition of their value, commitment and contribution.

None of that is right.

If someone is on the Leadership Team it means one thing and one thing only: that person is the one who best Gets, Wants and has the Capacity to fill a seat the Leadership Team has decided is a Key Function of the business.

That’s it.

It isn’t a lifetime achievement award.

It isn’t a show of status.

It isn’t a reward for loyalty and commitment to the cause.

It isn’t an honor reflecting one’s contribution to the organization.

It isn’t a perk of being an owner.

It isn’t a training ground for the boss’ nephew.

It IS a job.

And nothing more.

It is an important job to be sure – one that comes with a lot of responsibilities – but still just a job.

Unfortunately, too many leaders are worried about offending or bruising the ego of someone who thinks they should be on the Leadership Team for all the WRONG reasons.

When those compromises are made, the Leadership Team languishes, just like that speedboat with the anchor dragging along the bottom.

Ultimately it is not my decision who makes it onto the Leadership Team, that is a decision for the Leadership Team itself. All I can do is ask a pointed question:

Anchor down or anchor up?



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