Leadership development can be tough, especially when building a leadership team from scratch. As a Fractional Integrator™, I've worked with many Visionaries. And many of them are just starting to implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) in their businesses. A big part of this process is working with your EOS® Implementer™ to create a structured foundation, This includes a first-generation Accountability Chart that appoints leaders for each department.
During this key stage, most Visionaries on a tight budget who can't afford to hire industry leaders will often promote existing team members into these vital roles. However, developing new leaders from within comes with its own unique set of challenges. After all, these individuals, while dedicated and knowledgeable about the business, may not initially have the leadership skills required for their new roles. And this can create a disconnect between the Visionary's desire for quick traction and the reality of a leadership team that's still learning the ropes.
In my role as a Fractional Integrator™, I've witnessed and navigated these complexities firsthand. In this article, we'll dive into the heart of these challenges. We'll also explore how a seasoned Integrator™ can significantly impact the journey of transforming a promising team into effective leaders. Let's get started.
Leadership Development Challenges in New Teams
As a seasoned Fractional Integrator™, one of the more complex scenarios I frequently encounter involves steering a newly formed leadership team toward cohesive action and traction. And this becomes particularly challenging when these leaders have limited business and leadership acumen.
While Visionaries are often eager to structure their businesses, promoting individuals to leadership who don’t possess the necessary skills presents a unique set of challenges:
Developing a Leadership Team from Scratch: The Role of an Integrator™
Embarking on the journey of leadership development, particularly when starting from scratch, can be a daunting endeavor. But as an Integrator™, my role is instrumental in bridging gaps. This includes the gap between the Visionary's aspirations and the tangible growth of a fledgling leadership team. Let's break down how this unfolds.
#1: Understanding the Landscape
Before setting a course, I always take the time to thoroughly understand the business and its long-term vision, as well as any pre-existing team dynamics. After all, it's impossible to chart a course to a specific destination without first having clarity about the starting point. My primary objective is to comprehend what they're trying to achieve. This includes identifying their strengths and weaknesses and evaluating the overall capabilities that are available to us.
#2: Identifying Potential
My next step is to uncover hidden gems within the organization. Essentially, this involves identifying individuals who, despite their lack of formal leadership experience, display leadership attributes. This includes commitment, adaptability, and alignment with the company's core values. Recognizing these potential leaders is more of an art than a science, relying on intuition and experience.
#3: Utilizing the Best Tools to Identify Leaders
As part of identifying potential leaders from within a company’s ranks, I also utilize an array of tools. These include the EOS® People Analyzer and the GWC™. These tools help to determine each team member's current fit and whether they Get it, Want it, and have the Capacity to do their role. That said, the process of ensuring the right people are in the right seats takes time and will inevitably require adjusting. But, using these tools early in the process and then again later during a review period has proven to be tremendously helpful.
Another tool that I frequently utilize that offers me unique insights into each team member’s innate capabilities is the Kolbe A™ Index. To which this tool helps me identify the inherent strengths of each team member. Essentially, this is like getting an inside glimpse at their connotative superpowers.
#4: Defining Roles and Responsibilities
Once potential leaders are identified, I work closely with them to carve out clear roles and responsibilities. This step is crucial, especially for those who are transitioning into leadership roles for the first time. It's about ensuring they understand not just the 'what' but also the 'why' of their roles.
#5: Tailored Training and Leadership Development
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in leadership development. Hence, I focus on organizing and, at times, facilitating customized training and development opportunities for each member of the leadership team. This might include workshops, mentoring, and even external resources, all geared toward addressing the unique needs and learning styles of each individual.
#6: Fostering a Unified Vision
As an Integrator™, I play a key role in helping the team develop and align around a shared vision. This unification process is critical, ensuring everyone is not just rowing in the same direction but also understands and believes in the destination.
#7: Introducing Additional EOS® Tools
Introducing and guiding the team through EOS® tools is an area where I add significant value. All in all, these tools, including the V/TO (Vision/Traction Organizer), Accountability Chart, and Level 10 Meetings, are designed to bring clarity and structure, essential for those who are new to the business world.
#8: Conducting Regular Check-Ins
In addition, to ensure the leadership team is on track, I also conduct regular check-ins. These sessions serve as touchpoints to assess progress, provide feedback, and make any necessary course corrections. It’s an ongoing process of guidance and support.
#9: Cultivating Open Communication
Another essential role I play is in actively fostering an environment where open communication is the norm. Essentially, my goal is to help create a safe space where new leaders feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and challenges. After all, this openness is vital for building trust and collaboration within the team.
#10: Establishing a Culture of Accountability
Since accountability is a cornerstone of effective leadership, I work to instill a culture where team members hold themselves and each other accountable for their actions and commitments. After all, this sense of responsibility is crucial for personal and team growth.
#11: Tracking Progress through KPIs
In addition to establishing a culture of accountability, establishing and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) is an essential part of my process. These metrics not only provide a clear picture of the team’s progress but also help in making informed decisions for future development strategies.
#12: Celebrating Milestones
I also believe that recognizing and celebrating each milestone, no matter how small, is important. With this in mind, I frequently look for new ways to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and growth of the team, which in turn fuels motivation and commitment.
Navigating the Partnership: Working with the Visionary
In my role as an Integrator™, forging a strong partnership with the Visionary is essential. This relationship is a delicate dance of understanding their aspirations and grounding them in practical execution. With this in mind, I serve as a bridge between the Visionary’s ambitious ideas and the developing leadership team’s actual capabilities. Sometimes this involves tempering the Visionary's desire for immediate results with the realities of the fact that nurturing leadership skills takes time.
With this in mind, I remain in regular communication with the Visionary throughout the entire process, ensuring they have a clear picture of the leadership team’s progress and challenges. This ongoing dialogue helps in aligning expectations and maintaining momentum. It’s about balancing the Visionary’s drive for swift progress and the team’s need for growth and development. Through this collaborative effort, we not only foster a powerful leadership team but also reinforce the foundation for long-term success. After all, these are the very things that embody the true spirit of leadership development.
Leadership Development is a Rewarding Journey
In essence, as an Integrator™, my role is to act as a catalyst for leadership development. It’s about finding the hidden gems within an organization, nurturing their growth, and aligning them with the company's vision. While challenging, I find leadership development to be an immensely rewarding process that lays the foundation for a strong and effective leadership team.
Have you ever been a part of a newly developed leadership team? If so, what are your thoughts on the leadership development process you experienced? Or, if you have any additional insights into the leadership development process, please share those in the comments as well. I’d love to hear from you.