There is a massive opportunity cost for being a Functional Leadership Team!

Sadly, if the result of a quick poll I did last week on a webcast is indicative, almost half of you are part of a Functional Team. (See the flipchart below from this session – the blue figures show the attendees’ assessment of the leadership teams they are part of.)

Let’s consider how Functional Team operates on four dimensions.

Purpose: Functional Teams lack a clear and shared team purpose, maintaining ‘silos’ and making prioritisation and resource allocation more difficult.

Opportunity: Fearless Teams provide organisational leadership through a strong alignment of individual, team and organisational purpose. Collaboration and resource sharing is the norm.

Diversity is tolerated but not leveraged. Different styles can generate misunderstanding.

Opportunity: Organisations that leverage thinking diversity are well placed to compete. They are twice as likely to meet or exceed their financial targets and eight times more likely to have better business outcomes overall*.

Decision Making: Conflict may be avoided by suppressing disagreement, or by a superficial agreement that is broken as soon as people walk out of the boardroom. The loudest voices are heard and great ideas (and challenges) from others are not shared or are overlooked.

Opportunity: Fearless leadership teams have robust and constructive conversations in the boardroom and cabinet solidarity outside of it. Healthy conflict fosters growth and produces better decisions. 

Impact: It takes significant effort to make any real impact. By Friday night when you ‘finish’ work, you are likely to be tired, and need the weekend to recover so you can do it again next week. Functional leadership teams are missing many of their team and organisational objectives.

Opportunity: In a Fearless Team, action generates energy as people are playing to their strengths and feel well supported by the team.

Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself:

  • How would you rate the leadership team you are part of on the dimensions above?
  • What are the biggest opportunities to move towards Fearless?
  • What are you willing to do today to avoid the perils of a Functional Leadership Team?

Go Fearlessly

* 2 Bersin by Deloitte – Diversity & Inclusion Report 2017


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