How to overcome the talent and leadership barriers to achieving your business objectives

09 Dec 2019

How to overcome the talent and leadership barriers to achieving your business objectives

Talent and leadership are critical to any organisation’s success, but how can you ensure you avoid them slowing progress?

So, you have decided on a clearly-defined, adaptive strategy and appropriate goal-setting, but your talent cannot keep up, or even seem reluctant to contribute to organisational priorities.

What could be going wrong?

1. Your executive team is not set up correctly

Bringing a group of talented executives together is not always enough to create an effective leadership team. No matter how experienced they are.

It is only when this group of individuals become a cohesive team that an organisation can move in the right direction.

It takes skillful talent management, professional assessment and the identification of the right internal and external talent.

That means a 360-degree overview, assessing people’s competences, personalities and cultural fit, using a scientifically-robust method. This will then allow you to better understand if the individuals will thrive in a certain corporate and leadership environment.

It has become increasingly clear that having a team with a diverse skillset that complements what you are lacking is absolutely crucial. Otherwise, there is not an adequate variety of viewpoints and competences to drive your vision forward.

Being constantly challenged through a productive dialogue should be common practice in each organisation or team. However, we all know that this is not always the case.

For this reason, you should try to have an executive team that is complementary, diverse, agile, and able to be quickly mobilised in volatile and rapid scale-up moments.

In addition, you should bear in mind that your internal talent should be capable of developing itself just as fast as your company’s results, nor should your decision-making be slowed down by the complexity or size of your executive team.

2. Errors in leadership self-perception

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that the more a person becomes a professional expert, the less open-minded they are. So, leaders with numerous years of business activity under their belt may sometimes be overly confident in the completeness of their expertise, to the point that they are no longer open to other ideas.

To quote author Simon Sinek, "The best leaders don't consider themselves experts; they consider themselves students." This is why leadership should not be based simply on control, but on trust and learning.

In today’s organisations, to be effective, leadership should be constantly evolving, and include qualities such as modesty, humility and curiosity.

It is known that leaders who have a high degree of emotional intelligence will be better able to understand themselves and others, and will consequently be more effective leaders.

It calls for a high degree of self-awareness and the ability to re-think yourself by being open-minded, inclusive and embracing diversity.

The business landscapes are continuously changing, so self-awareness through assessing performance is key to stay on point in today’s rapidly-evolving business environment, especially when profit gains are no longer the sole focus. No matter how you look at it, leadership capable of evolving will future-proof your organisation.  

Of course, in order to have your views as a leader respectfully challenged and to capitalize on a much-needed diversity of ideas, you need to encourage a culture of trust and collaboration. This brings us to our final point.

3. Lack of information flow and constructive feedback

It is important for a leader to create a positive feedback culture that will enhance a company’s long-term growth objectives.

For success, teams should be aligned with the company’s goals. However, according to a Harvard Business Review research, 95% of employees are unaware of, or do not understand their company strategy.

It is therefore up to senior leadership to ensure not only that your company priorities are clearly identified and defined, but also that you communicate them throughout every level of your organisation, effectively and often.

Especially when driving change, business leaders should always encourage two-way dialogue and share constructive feedback, and ensure that there is an appropriate level of interpersonal and non/official communication, so that employees can focus fully on their performance.

In short, if you find you’re struggling to achieve your business objectives, you should not be afraid to question the composition of the executive team, have a strategy to develop and attract the right talent and ensure you mobilize the teams you have, and challenge your own self-perception.

This is where the added value of a trusted executive search partner lies, with their advisory capabilities and professional assessment and senior leadership development services can help your company find leadership and talent solutions that work.

If you would like to discuss how you can overcome your company’s talent and leadership-related challenges, please get in touch with me.