Ruth Wageman, Debra A. Nunes, James A. Burruss and J. Richard Hackman together produced a brilliant piece of work in the form of book “Senior Leadership Teams: What it takes to make them great”. The team of authors worked together for 9 years and studied 120 teams of great leaders from various renowned organizations. The book provides a deep insight on various aspects related with the formation and management of senior leadership teams and teaches to get best out of them successfully.
The book is one of its kinds which focus on challenges faced by top management in forming and leading team of leaders. The most interesting thing I found in the book is that it beautifully defines the formation of senior leadership teams step by step. The book is based on real examples and research data gathered by authors. The authors mention that how top performing teams are different from other teams. What factors contributes in making them best performers. The book provides guidance to CEOs on: identifying organizational objectives, how they can build and execute a uniform strategy, how they can respond effectively to changing scenarios. Each step described in the book is supported with real examples which have already been witnessed in a number of organizations. The examples given in the book help in understanding how top management can respond to various critical situations. The uniqueness of topic develop an interest in reading the book. The topic of the book develops a positive stimulus because it is very difficult to get books which is focused on the problems faced by CEOs in leading teams of senior leaders. The book is a complete solution for CEOs who are either facing challenges in forming teams of leaders or think that it is not required.
The book largely covered all the aspects required for formation and successful functioning of senior leader’s team. There are various other factors like economical-political change, technological changes and the like that need to be handled by executives at the time. The book does not talk about the changes; organization faced time to time which lead towards negative emotion.
The authors very effectively described 6 important conditions that can be very helpful in forming a team of leaders. Authors defined three conditions as essential and three as enablers.
Condition 1: the first question in front of CEOs is when they really required a team. How that team will be formed. Executives need to clearly identify who all members will be part of that team. All team members should work for a common goal. Stability of all team members should also be maintained.
Condition 2: Purpose of team should be clearly defined. All the decisions need to be taken and issues need to be resolved should be communicate to the team.
Condition 3: Selection of right members for the team is a challenging task for the executives. Team members should be shortlisted based on the skills, expertise and experience required to execute the task.
Condition 4: A proper concrete structure is required to execute the tasks in a systematic and effective manner. It helps team members to understand what is to be done and how it is link to organizational strategy and team objectives.
Condition 5: team should get all type of support in terms of desired information, data, and manpower. Effective reward system needs to be in place to motivate the performers.
Condition 6: training should be conducted at any point of time to train the members so that they execute all type of task.
The book describes six conditions, processes and tools that are very helpful for top management to form team of senior leaders and get best from them.
Ruth Wageman, Debra Nunes, James Burruss, and Richard Hackman. (2007). Senior Leadership Teams; What it takes to Make Them Great. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.