A Brave Thing to Do
A member of one of my client teams—we’ll call her Diane—just did something brave, and I want to share it with you.
She just took herself off the Leadership Team.
This company is the result of the merger of two smaller businesses, each of which brought very strong leaders to the table. They like and respect one another, and everyone believes the business combination was a good idea. They’re committed to creating one business, one team and one culture. They also are very inclusive and don’t want anyone to feel shut out.
The Accountability Chart (the EOS® tool for organizational structure and clarity) they came up with had a Leadership Team of seven and included everyone who had been on the Leadership Team of each of the two separate businesses.
Pretty quickly, two issues emerged. The first was that the 7-person team wasn’t very nimble. There were some overlaps in accountability, and they spent unproductive time sorting out who was going to take on some key tasks. The second was that Diane’s original role started to diminish in importance, while some new needs started to arise for which she was very well-suited.
The challenge the team faced was that the seat that would own these new responsibilities clearly did not belong on the Leadership Team. It belonged one level down, reporting to a Leadership Team member who had been Diane’s peer for a long time.
Rather than trying to accommodate Diane, the Integrator in this business followed the rule of Structure First, People Second. That means figuring out what the business needs and filling those needs rather than carving out roles that aren’t what’s best for the business in order to accommodate specific people. He explained the situation to Diane and asked her if she would take on this new job.
Understandably, Diane’s initial reaction was to feel a little hurt. But to her enormous credit, she quickly got over it and accepted the job. The result? The Leadership Team is operating much more efficiently, Diane is kicking a little you-know-what in her new role, and the business is getting what it needs.
To be clear, this was never about whether Diane was strong enough to be a member of the Leadership Team. Without question, she is. The issue was that the business needed her somewhere else.
This is what it looks like to put the greater good of the team and the business first. It’s an incredibly difficult thing for a strong leader to put his or her ego aside and take one for the team. And it only happens when everyone on the team and in the business is clear about, and committed to, a future that’s bigger than themselves.
Is your team that clear, committed and strong? If not, let us know. We’d love to show you how you can get there.