How big should your leadership team be?
For the past 28 years my experience in team driven missions has been with small, highly selective, very highly training individuals who team up for the sole purpose of execution of a mission. Little did I know how every maneuverable, effective, and decentralized this type of team is when compared to the big, highly political, and less training and more emotionally organized team that is competitively organized to maintain market share.
One is offensive and the other defensive. I suppose both have their place in the world. I see more of the defensive, emotionally and politically organized team structure than I do the on point mission focused team.
The misconception of the defensive, huge organization is that the top leader should have command and control of every aspect of the workings of the company. The misconception may stem for the ill-fated organization of the team, or rather political, emotional, and lack of intensive training per position. Or maybe the misconception is from books or movies leaders read about command and control.
I can tell you first hand leaders are only a small role in the business, a business of that is offensive that is to say. In a lethal, swift to act, dynamic, highly specialized team, the leader plays only a small role. A leader in an offensive team reigns in the team and never uses the whip, says no more than yes. A leader of a defensive team always, always, always feels like they need to whip and make decisions and keep people moving.
Oddly both have unique cultures simply because of the design flaw. The defensive organization has a culture of grind, delays, no one can impact the day to day. The offensive team has a culture of opportunity, urgency, and influence. So why in the hell do 78% of the organizations structure for defense, yet everyone screams for culture of offense.
Over the past 5 years we have reset organizations from defense to offense and the process takes 7 months.
The method is simple. The method is disruptive to be sure, yet works every time. The ROI is four times the lag in action, the loss of retention, and the immediate revenue generation of take out the defensive mindset. The culture is light, and communicative by necessity, intense, and no one wants to leave.
What would your company be like if you were an offensive culture, and had decentralized command and control? What would your life be like? That is the question I pose to you.
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