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Leadership calendar    Oct 31, 2022

Becoming a More Disciplined CEO: The Role of Executive Team Builder 

From our experiences, the investment barometer when assessing the potential of a CEO’s transition from venture capital to the growth equity landscape, extends way beyond one person. It’s not that we don’t care about your vision, workstyle, or morning routine, but we’re paying less attention to those things because we have so much more to gauge. We’re considering your product and customer feedback. We’re looking at your approach to leadership as your team grows. We are evaluating the current and future culture and capabilities of the company you want to grow. We’re getting a sense of whether or not you understand that growing a company is a team sport. How you assemble your critical C-suite roles across product and technology, go-to-market, finance, HR, for example, are a telling factor in an investment. 

The growth and maturity process for the start-up CEO is well documented. Often visionary, risk-driven, and opportunistic, a major step change accompanies the CEO’s transition from manager and problem solver involved in the details, to leader and direction-setter with an externally focused agenda, requiring support from a strong, resilient and interdependent executive team.   

Assessing the likelihood for success of a CEO transitioning from venture capital to the growth equity landscape typically extends well beyond one person. At Edison Partners, our investment barometer factors in multiple elements including product and customer feedback, your approach to leadership as your team grows, and the current and future culture and capabilities of the company you aspire to build.  Growing a company is truly a team sport. How you assemble your critical C-suite roles across product and technology, go-to-market, finance, and HR (among other disciplines) are all telling factors in the assessment process. 

Preparing for step change requires an intentional and disciplined approach, around the leadership table. One approach used to support newly invested portfolio CEOs and their teams is the Six Team Conditions Framework. Originally informed by research from more than a thousand teams, the framework considers three enabling factors and three essential factors critical to accelerating team performance. Using a systemic approach, the framework considers how your team operates together, the efforts applied, and the skill sets used. Through a connected diagnostic, you as the CEO are able to identify where strengths and gaps exist, while concurrently navigating the challenges and complexities of top and bottom-line growth. undefined-Oct-27-2022-06-46-39-8981-PMA cursory review of the Six Team Conditions framework leads to one simple question: as CEO, what type of leadership team do you want to build that will deliver against the vision you have?   

As you reflect, consider this …

Look in the mirror:   

• What type of leader am I?  
• What are my personal, team, and organizational leadership tenets?   
• What are my leadership strengths, and what are my areas of opportunity for growth?   

Design the team you seek: 

• What type of leadership team do I seek to build, or should I move toward? Should the design and structure of the team prioritize decision making, collaboration, consultation, or information sharing?   
• What team behaviors should be considered essential in selecting team members?  
• What are the prioritized team skill gaps that I’m looking to fill?  
• At this particular point in time, what structure will serve the organization best? 

Build consistency: 

What team processes should we put in place to ensure we operate effectively over time (including team purpose, norms and values)?  

• How do we ensure the skills and efforts of the full team maximize the capabilities resident around the table?  
• How can we hold each other accountable while supporting one another?  
• What must I do as a CEO to ensure my time and focus promotes team effectiveness, both with and without me at the table?  

Leading a high growth company is hard work. Successful portfolio CEOs and their teams must all be committed to the effort. The best CEOs build the right teams around them – with intentionality, suited to the business, tailored to the business’ stage of growth, oriented toward customers, and that operate in the most effective way possible.   

Should you be looking for help, consider tapping your Board. If they’re anything like us, they’ll want to be pulled into these team-forming discussions right from the get-go. When that’s not an option, please drop me a line. Let's work together to make it happen.

Steve is an accomplished and mission-driven business leader, 2x former chief people officer, and trusted partner with the board, CEO, and executive team.  Known for his intentional, pragmatic, and values-driven leadership, Steve is a highly effective executive and team coach, advisor, and facilitator.