Who is in your first team?

Who’s in your team? If you are in in an executive team – or any senior leadership team – this is not a simple question.

Is the executive team you are a member of ‘your team’? Or is the operational team you lead ‘your team’?

Semantics? No – a significant mindset shift. 

When executives think they lead a division – instead of a company – they attend executive team meetings and then return to ‘their team’ once the meeting is over. They prioritise their own patch over the greater whole, tend towards competitiveness, work hard to promote the interests of ‘their people’, and lobby for airtime and resourcing.

When executives think of the senior leadership team they are part of as their ‘first team’, they share leadership of the company. Priorities and decisions are debated, made and executed on a firm wide basis, taking all factors into account. Exec team relationships are prioritized, and this becomes the team they come to for support – ‘home base’. The division they lead, and their direct reports, are their ‘operational team’ – important and yet not the first team.

That mindset changes everything.

As I work with senior leadership teams, it is fascinating watching the shift and see the strength that flows from making the executive team your ‘first team’. Not all executive teams achieve that.

Who is in your first team? What are the implications of that?

Go Fearlessly