High Achievement Leadership Teams Focus on the Invisible – Part V

CEO One-on-Ones That WorkHigh Achievement Companies Focus on the Invisible, Part V

Having worked with over 100 leadership teams over a 30 year period one of the most significant items I have concluded is that high achievement leadership teams and cultures do not follow the tide or trends often spoken about or that are present in the majority of companies. While most companies focus on what can be seen physically, high achievement companies focus on building what can NOT be seen. It sounds strange but the real power that drives high achievement is what is invisible but so clearly present.

So what are these invisible factors that drive high achievement? To date I have discerned five factors. In the last 4 issues of “The Strategic Minute” I shared that Traits of High Achievement Leadership Teams, a Strong Company Spirit, Frequent and Organized Communication, and a Few Critically Important Well Defined Goals were 4 of 5 invisible factors that are present in high achievement companies. Today I will share the 5th invisible factor. The 5th invisible factor is “Transparency.” In many ways the invisible factor of Transparency seems only fitting since this is all about invisible factors.

Invisible Factor Number 5: Transparency

Transparency has become such an overused term but in the case of High Achievement Companies the word “Transparency” truly describes how they operate and communicate. It should be no surprise that the leadership teams of High Achievement Companies personify Transparency in all they do and in all their interactions. Based on my observations, Transparency in High Achievement Companies is seen in 2 very visible manners through:

1. Peer Reviews      2. Openly sharing missed targets or problems; no hiding of bad news

However, in order to have Transparency there must be “trust.” Trust seems like such a simple concept but it represents a series of complexities and behaviors that must be understood before it can be truly built. Trust only exists if all three of these principles are true:

Definition of Trust

  1. Competence:  My colleague is competent to do what needs to be done.
  2. Integrity: My colleague will do what he/she said they will do when they said they will do it.
  3. Fairness:  I trust my colleague has my/the company’s best interest in mind and balances it with theirs.

Trust must exist for a leadership team to be high achievement, for a company to be high achievement, and for transparency to exist.

Transparency follows Trust, it NEVER precedes it.

When Transparency and Trust coexist, it is safe to perform peer reviews and communicate bad news. Everyone knows that the information given and received is grounded in growth, improvement, and driving results.

Because trust exists among colleagues, an employee’s Performance Review is conducted as a peer review, with an employee’s direct colleagues and manager evaluating performance. In the case of the CEO or President, his/her performance is evaluated by the members of the Leadership Team. In addition to trust, a well-defined set of accountabilities and success metrics must exist to establish an expectations baseline for each role.

High Achievement Companies and Leadership Teams embrace the concept that no one is perfect. They know that mistakes are a sign of stretching and doing things that have never been done before. Issues, problems, and mistakes are signs of growth and therefore it is safe to share them openly.

Does your leadership team trust each other enough to be transparent? 

Do you have a well-defined set of accountabilities and success metrics that establish an expectations baseline for each role?

Please feel free to contact me for more information about becoming a High Achievement Leadership Team.  Kathie McBroom  Kathie.mcbroom at thinking-organization.com.

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