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Leadership Insights

How Aligned Leadership Teams Create Resilient Organizations

6 min read

We explore how an aligned leadership team can create different forms of resilience while increasing collaboration, productivity and reducing turnover in an organization.

Unaligned leadership teams are the hallmark of low resilience organizations - their leaders are siloed, focused on their own goals, lack a broader perspective of the organization’s environment, and possess a myopic view of operations and objectives.

Individual leaders have competing priorities which lead to tensions and are unable to solve problems collectively. This disconnect filters down the organization, fostering disunity and fracturing. When business-wide challenges arise, the organization lacks the resilience to overcome them.

Building a resilient organization therefore begins at the top, and is achieved through three interlinked approaches - strategic resilience, organizational resilience, and talent resilience.

What does an organization with low resilience look like?

Low resilience organizations are often plagued by disconnection, low productivity and high turnover. Senior leaders send their teams in the wrong direction, they operate in siloes and miss the bigger picture.

Often, there is strategic misalignment whereby teams pull in opposing directions, causing friction and negatively impacting productivity. The business fails to get products to market or when they do, there are mistakes or they have design flaws. Digital transformation programs fail to get off the ground and systems remain archaic, leading to frustration and discontentment.

Critically, talent leaves because of the friction and lack of common direction.

Creating strategic resilience by defining purpose

Viewing the organization through the stakeholder lens, the leadership team should define the critical areas they need to focus on. This focus should meet both current and future stakeholder needs to be clear on the organization’s ‘what’ and its ‘why.’

Alignment meetings are particularly helpful in assessing how well leadership team members relate to those stakeholders, and how well they can articulate the organization’s overall purpose. These sessions also assess the dynamic within the team. For example, habitual patterns prevent members aligning on purpose and how they collaborate to achieve goals collectively.

Fostering organizational resilience through culture

Once the leadership team has defined the organization’s ‘reason for being,’ it should define what the organization stands for.

This exercise ensures the leadership team and the rest of the organisation are aligned around a single set of clear values reflecting a culture which will ensure the business delivers on its purpose.

Part of this process is assessing how well the leadership team manages their internal team culture to create a dynamic that permeates through the organization. This ensures the leadership team members are aligned and clear on the organization’s goals.

Developing talent resilience by looking to the future

With a focused strategic direction and a set of values to align the organization towards that goal, the organization should assess whether it has the right leaders to meet these new criteria. This isn’t just about the here and now, boards should consider their future leadership skill needs and build a picture of what their leadership should look like in five to seven years’ time.

‘Future fit’ leaders possess a number of core traits, which our global Leadership Practice has defined following extensive psychometric testing. Talent resilience also means ensuring there is a comprehensive succession plan in place and leadership talent strategy that covers everything from employee reward systems to internal talent development.

Organizational and ecosystem challenges are increasing in both frequency and difficulty these include labor shortages, workplace stress, global inflation, increased political extremism and the need for ultra-fast reactions to new technologies. Only highly resilient organizations can successfully navigate this “perma-crisis,” and developing this resilience begins with the leadership team.



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