It takes a team to win the board game (part 2)

In my last post, I added a governance spin to two of four strategies from consultants Jack and Suzy Welch’s advice about “How to Build a Winning Team.”  Now I’m back with commentary on the remaining two points. (The Welch’s words are in italic and mine are in regular face.)

Third, winning teams are honest. The simple truth is that candor breeds trust. And when a team is infused with trust, people play to their better angels. They share ideas freely. They help their colleagues when they’re stuck and need an insight. What they do every day then becomes about the group’s success, not their own.

  • Governance application: A board that fails to assess its own performance or that of individual members has nowhere to lay the blame for poor performance other than at its own doorstep. Calling peers to account is tough stuff. However, for the good of the board and the organization, assessment is a must. And who holds responsibility for getting the assessment ball rolling? It’s the board chair. The CEO can take part in, but should not lead assessment activities.

Fourth, and finally, winning teams celebrate. Most leaders don’t understand the tight link between celebrating small successes along the way and achieving the big one at the end. But it’s irrefutable. [Celebrating] teaches people what it feels like to win, which is, well, a very good feeling. It makes people want to win more. In fact, they never want the feeling to go away. So they do everything to keep winning. 

  • Governance application: Board work is serious stuff, and especially in today’s tough economic times. That said, all work and no play makes a board a pretty dreary bunch. Research backs up the claim that board members who celebrate together, work better together. Close personal relationships within a board engender trust and a sense of team. Chairs intent on fostering a joyful esprit de corp build a bit of fun into every meeting’s agenda.

For more on  leadership and organizational effectiveness from the Welches,  check out their bestseller, Winning. For more of what I have to say on the topics, keep reading Generous Matters.

What's your take on this topic?

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