Executive Teamwork Depends on the Executive First

With one of my clients, a start-up, we scoured the nation for the best and brightest — real “top of the food chain” sorts of executives. And we were pretty darned successful, since we hired a bunch of ’em.

All brilliant, and at the top of their respective games.

All came from intense, successful, team-driven environments.

All clearly had incentives — cash and equity — to work together as a cohesive group.

Seems like a recipe for some serious kumbaya, doesn’t it?? If it were, I wouldn’t have a story for my blog today…

It was nearly a disaster.

You see, though as individuals, they clearly and personally believed in the team concept, and promoted it — honestly — to all that came near, the truth is, they were each accustomed to being in the center of their respective teams, not linked arm-in-arm in a big, egalitarian circle. Not that they were insincere, because they certainly were not. In fact, we were all confused in trying to determine “what’s wrong with this picture??” It took a good deal of effort and introspection to discover the real issue.

So, the lesson learned is “don’t hire best-of-the-best” executives?? Of course not. But realize that in doing so, if we want several “best-in-class” horses to run with each other as one, we need to identify the concerns and issues up front, and possibly take some unusual actions to make this thing work.

Because 6 of the world’s best horses, pulling in 6 different directions, doth not a team make…


Kevin Berchelmann

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