Stage 5, Integration, is a sleeper in the 7 Stages of Growth. It’s easy for a CEO to assume that once he/she make it through Stage 3 and move successfully into Stage 4, they have it made. And why not? A CEO who learns the value of delegating and putting in place experienced managers, should be able to sit back and enjoy this new-found freedom. Right?

Unfortunately, Stage 5 is filled with even more challenges that if ignored, will undo any of the great work done in previous stages of growth.

My book, Leadership Integration: How to Cultivate Collaboration from the Top Down with 58 – 95 Employees, takes aim at bringing a leadership team together into a cohesive, effective and productive team. And it’s far from easy.

In a chapter entitled “Why There is No “I” in Team”, I talk about how to integrate those experienced managers into a team that will live up to the expectations of the CEO. It starts with clarity of focus that provides a roadmap for where the company is going. A CEOs newly organized leadership team needs to understand their role in helping the company get where the company wants to go.

While the statement, “there is no I in team”, is trite and overused, I make it a topic of discussion because business owners keep losing sight of that very thing. Not on purpose. CEOs want to rely on their leaders to make good decisions but sometimes patience wears out and a CEOs need for control sabotages those very efforts.

Our CEOs need to be reminded that their efforts to ‘speed things up’ or ‘just make the decision’ can lead to resentment and mistrust with the very leaders they are trying to empower. Reminding our CEOs of three characteristics that define a great team, may be a worthwhile conversation.

An awareness of unity on the part of all team members, exploring what this looks like.
Interpersonal relationships, giving each member a chance to contribute, learn from and work with others.
The ability to work toward a common goal, which requires the clarity of those goals.

Have your CEOs review the following ten characteristics of well-functioning teams:

1. Purpose: Members proudly share a sense of why the team exists and are invested in accomplishing its mission and goals.

2. Priorities: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to achieve team goals. 3. Roles: Members know their roles in terms of getting tasks done and when to allow a more skillful member to do a certain task.

4. Decisions: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood.

5. Conflict: Conflict is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-making and personal growth.

6. Personal traits: Members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized.

7. Norms: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for everyone in the groups.

8. Effectiveness: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together.

9. Success: Members know clearly when the team has been successful and shares in that success equally and proudly.

10. Training: Opportunities for feedback and updating skills are provided and taken advantage of by team members.

To effectively grow at this crucial stage of growth, the concept of “team” must mean more than words on an organizational chart. As your CEO looks to create a leadership team, he/she must redefine their own role. Without thinking about the role the CEO will play in Stage 5, it will be too easy to fall back into the roles and responsibilities he/she had when the company was smaller.

Each of my stage of growth books identifies the five critical challenges a CEO faces as he/she grows their organization. We have the knowledge and the model that will absolutely provide our CEOs with the insight they need to not only manage their growth but define it and then communicate it to the entire organization. The Stages of Growth X-Ray and Zeroing in on Your Company’s Profit Zone will improve an organization’s understanding of growth, improve engagement, increase performance and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Remember, you do have a proven and predictive model for growth. Go talk about it!

Your success. My passion.
Laurie Taylor, FlashPoint!