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Every team has people. 
But most executive teams struggle to get the right people in the right roles.

As we discussed last week in The Discipline of Purpose, clarity of purpose is a prerequisite to building a high-performance executive team. 
Once the purpose is clear, you must apply The Discipline of Design.  Answering a few questions can accelerate the process:

  • What are the skills, strengths, and experiences required to accomplish your executive team’s unique purpose?
  • What are the skills, strengths, and experiences of the existing executive team?  What are your gaps? How can you close them?
  • What roles are required?  Which executives are best positioned to fill those roles? (Note: these roles do not have to be linked to the executive’s title.  For example, if the CFO is the person with the most experience with employee engagement, perhaps they should lead that initiative, not the VP of HR.)

Of course, there are many other questions that impact the design of the executive team.  The key point is that great executive teams don’t just happen.  They are designed.

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SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.


Every team has a purpose. 
But most executive teams have never taken the time to clarify what theirs is.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams have a clear – and unique – sense of the discipline of purpose.
This seems like it should be obvious, but there are many different kinds of executive teams.  In the same way that each company should have a unique purpose, the executive team running that company should have a unique purpose as well.  (A church’s executive team has a very different purpose than a construction company’s executive team.)
To clarify your executive team’s unique purpose, consider three factors: decisions, outputs, and outcomes.
Decisions are the unique things that your executives decide as a team.  (Like approve bonuses.)  In some companies, this list is actually quite small, since most of the decisions are made by individual executives without bringing the issue to the entire executive team.
Outputs are the unique deliverables produced by your executives as a team.  These include things like corporate strategy documents, annual budgets, or organizational goals. 
Outcomes are the unique results that your executive team is responsible for as a team.  These include things like financial results or employee engagement.

Once you know your executive team’s unique purpose, you can design the team to accomplish it.

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.






Every organization has a vision.

But most of them are pretty blurry.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams have a crystal-clear definition of where they are going. Ultimately, developing a clear and compelling vision is a key responsibility of the executive team.

In addition, the vision is far more than a traditional vision statement, most of which are just meaningless blah-blah-blah. A great vision is much more dynamic.

Finally, we recommend that executive teams reflect on the discipline of vision and develop a “SMART Vision,” which is specific enough to provide direction and inspiring enough to provide the motivation to achieve it. Many are captured in catchy, memorable phrases, such as “$25M by 2025.”

Here are a few Check Points to consider:

• Does your vision forecast the market trends and potential discontinuities?
• Have you tested your vision against current and potential competitors?
• Can every member of the executive team articulate the vision with “energizing clarity?”

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.



Every organization has values.

Unfortunately, most executive teams do not live by them.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams are fully devoted to their values. To high-performers, the discipline of values is much more than words on posters in the break room or in a booklet on the brochure wall.

High-performance executive teams use their values to guide their decisions and never tolerate behaviors that are inconsistent with their values.

Far too many companies tolerate executives who do not personify their values because they are “making their numbers” or “have been here since the beginning.”

Here are a few Check Points for your consideration:

  • Which of your executives most personifies your core values?
  • Should “value personification” be a criterion for executive bonuses?
  • Are there any executives whose behavior is so counter to your values that it is time for them to go?

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.

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A little over eight years ago, I left the staff of McLean Bible Church and restarted my consulting business.

Since then, we have worked with over thirty different organizations in fifteen different industries.

As we have reflected on these experiences, we identified One Common Denominator. Every organization had some issues with the executive team.

So, we have been working to answer two questions:
  • What is a high-performance executive team?
  • How can we best help our CEO clients build one?
We have developed a model that addresses these two questions called The Twelve Disciplines of high-performance executive teams. Over the next twelve weeks, we’ll be sharing them with you.

In the meantime, if you would like to jump start the transformation of your executive team, drop us a line at

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment.


Every organization has a group of senior executives.

Winners win because their executives work as a high-performance team.

There is a big difference between a group of executives and an executive team.

Groups of executives sit in the same room and present PowerPoint slides to each other. But people just pretend to listen, and are probably checking email or playing Angry Birds.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams have a shared vision, common goals, high accountability, and demonstrate a “we before me” attitude.

So, is your senior leadership a group or a team?

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.

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As part of our Develop One Team process, we ask executives a simple question.

What is the best team that you have ever been a part of?

Most executives can’t answer the question. We will often prompt them by giving examples – it can be a sports team, or a sales team, or a product development team, or a volunteer team, etc.

What we have learned is that the vast majority of executives have never been on a great team.

Not even in junior high!

So, it is no surprise that virtually every executive team struggles with teamwork.

As part of your executive team meeting this week, take the “best team challenge.” I think you will find the (lack of) answers enlightening.

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment.


In a guest article published on’s Leadership Insider, Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group validated what we have been advocating for 8 years. 

“It all starts with aligning employees behind your mission as a company.”

Of course, this presumes that your mission is clear enough to align everyone with.  Most companies – especially small entrepreneurial ones – struggle with the “all things to all people problem.”  Some call this “mission creep.”

Spencer goes on explain his approach this way, “There’s a lot of academic research about why it’s advantageous to have a mission-driven culture, particularly with millennials who are trying to connect with something beyond a job; they want a purpose, not just a paycheck.  A mission-driven culture will allow you to attract better, more engaged employees.  This is a big part of our company’s DNA. Everyone at Zillow Group is aligned behind one mission: Power to the People: Build the world’s largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace.”

Is your mission crystal-clear?  Is it inspiring?  Is everyone aligned with it?

If not, our Drive One Direction® process can help.

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment.

You can read the entire article here:



Last week, I had the amazing privilege of leading a Pit Stop Program for Silvercar in Austin, TX.

Their vision is to change the way the world hits the road.

The first market they are revolutionizing is airport rental car. Their model is incredible, and they are the first company outside the “Big 3” of Hertz, Avis and Enterprise to be named North America’s “Leading Car Rental Company.”

Silvercar’s Net Promoter score is three times the industry average!

I strongly urge you to download the Silvercar app and use them at your earliest convenience. You will never want to use the “Big 3” ever again.

I also think everyone would do well to copy Silvercar’s spirit of innovation, starting with the customer experience.

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment.


I recently learned about a fascinating SAAS company called BetterWorks.

Their software helps companies with goal alignment… more on this next week.

While researching the company, I was excited to learn that Kris Duggan, their CEO, agrees with our Decide One Thing® model. Here is what he said in a recent interview:

“Decide what kind of company you are. Focus is the main thing... As an early stage company, you have a chance to do one thing really well, so make sure you’ve really nailed it. Focus, focus, focus.”

SHIFTPOINTS® helps companies unleash the accelerating power of alignment.

You can read the entire interview here: