One of the most dysfunctional and destructive organizational pathologies is undermining, especially at executive levels.
Unfortunately, we see this all the time.
Issues are discussed at the executive meeting. Alternatives are debated. And eventually, a decision about the best course of action is made.
Far too often, what happens next is that executives who did not get there way undermine the decision. Sometimes, their undermining is overt, blatant, and public such as when executives say, “They made a dumb decision.”
Most of the time, however, the undermining is much more covert. Whispering at the water cooler. Backstabbing in the bathroom. Sniping at Starbucks.
This kind of behavior, especially at executive levels, must never be tolerated.
In contrast, high-performance executive teams debate, decide, and align.
First, there is an open and candid debate. The CEO – or the most senior leader in the group – plays a critical role in creating the environment that facilitates this. Far too often, decisions are made by a CEO who is in monologue mode.
Second, there is a decision. There are many ways that executive teams make decisions. Sometimes, the CEO decides unilaterally. Sometimes, there is a group consensus. Sometimes, one executive makes a recommendation and the team endorses it.
Finally, once a decision is made, everyone aligns behind it, even it if wasn’t their preferred course of action. This is the discipline of decisiveness.
A few check-points for your executive team to consider:
- Does your team have productive debates about strategically important issues?
- Does your team make effective decisions in a timely manner?
- Is your team suffering from undermining?