(250) 516-6432 rob@robertscooke.com

Creating exceptional leadership teams

Leadership teams are critical to managing the complexity of today’s work and most leaders spend a great deal of time attending team meetings. There is a significant opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of these meetings. In my work over many years enhancing the performance of leadership teams I believe that effective and high performing leadership teams must have three core elements: clarity of role, mandate and purpose; operational excellence; and behaviours and habits that optimize team performance. Creating Exceptional Leadership Teams is an interactive program to enhance the performance and value of intact leadership teams. The following are the key elements: 1. Clarity of team role, mandate and purpose Leadership teams have a unique value to the organization and exist to accomplish specific defined outcomes. Teams need to confirm their unique purpose including what the team needs to accomplish and what the organization is counting on the team to deliver. Clarifying team purpose also includes confirming the scope of priority issues that the team should be focusing on over the next six to twelve months. 2. Establish Operational Excellence Once team role, mandate and purpose are confirmed the team needs to turn its’ attention to how it wants to operate. This includes clarifying the four basic agenda items for leadership team meetings as well as defining meeting operating principles including how decisions will be made. The four basic agenda items for leadership team meetings are: To share information on key issues, events, projects, etc. To provide input and advice related to individual areas of responsibility. To make decisions. To establish clear and aligned direction for the organization. 3. Supportive Behaviours and Relationships Being an effective team...

Creating effective and high-performance boards

Effective and highly performing Boards are critical to ensuring effective organizational governance in today’s complex world and there is a significant opportunity to enhance their effectiveness. I believe that effective and high performing Boards must have three core elements: clarity of role, purpose and focus; operational excellence; and behaviours and habits that optimize team performance.  The following provides more insight into what is required: 1. Clarity of Board Role, Purpose and Focus Boards have a unique value to stakeholders and the organization and they exist to accomplish specific defined outcomes. Boards need to confirm their unique role and purpose including what the Boards is there to accomplish and what the key stakeholders and the organization are counting on the Board to deliver.  Clarifying Board purpose also includes confirming the scope of priority issues that the Board should be focusing on over the next six to twelve months. 2. Establish Operational Excellence Once Board role, purpose and focus are confirmed the team needs to turn its’ attention to how it wants to operate. This includes clarifying the four basic agenda items for leadership team meetings as well as defining meeting operating principles including how decisions will be made.  The four basic agenda items for leadership team meetings are: To share information on key issues, events, projects, etc. typically through Committee reports To provide input and advice related to individual areas of responsibility of Board members or Executives To make decisions in defined areas of Board accountability. To establish clear and aligned direction for the organization. 3. Supportive Behaviours and Relationships Being an effective Board member requires behavioural considerations that are often different than those typically employed in...

The board’s role in strategy development

We are told that strategic planning is one of a Board’s key roles.  There is, however, a great deal of confusion as to what this role should entail. There is often a great deal of confusion among boards as to what they should, or shouldn’t do when it comes to participating in strategy development. The source of the confusion may start with a misreading of the board’s role in general. The board is appointed by the shareholders (owners, members) of an organization to look after the best interests of the organization – not the shareholders.  The Board’s role is to look after the long-term survival, growth and prosperity of the organization. In this corporate-governance role, the board is judge and jury of the CEO, his or her management team, and any strategic plan that this group produces.  As a consequence, the board should keep at arm’s length any development of the organization’s strategic plan. You can’t be judge, jury and the accused all in one! But this does not mean that the Board doesn’t have an important role to play in the strategic planning process. Experts in Board Governance agree that the job of the CEO and the management team is to identify strategic options, land on recommendations of what the organization should be doing and why; identify the risks associated with that course of action and then execute the strategy which is recognized as the most difficult part. Directors should not get directly involved in the development of the strategic plan but should test and probe the organization’s recommendations related to strategic direction and use their experiences and...