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Leadership Transformation: Double Effectiveness

Coaching concurrently the executive team and their individual members can profoundly increase leadership effectiveness that transforms business performance.

Why it matters: Studies show a high correlation between leadership effectiveness and business results. 

The big picture: Leadership team effectiveness is an underutilized growth engine. Here’s a client case study to illustrate the impact.

Transformation story

In 2019, John, the founder and CEO of a 10-year-old software company, was devastated after failing to exit through acquisition. 

The company burned cash too fast, attempting to generate high growth. Despite expanding sales and marketing investments, growth rates declined from 60% to 20% to 9% over three years. 

Alarmed by the shrinking growth, the most prominent VC on the board told John that his firm might not continue to invest in the company.

John was highly stressed. “I lost faith in the company, the team, and myself,” he told me when we first met.

Eighteen months later, investment banks were knocking on the door, competing with termsheets. By this time, John had established himself as an inspiring industry leader and a captivating storyteller who had developed highly effective leadership, individually and collectively, within his company. 

The leadership team doubled their collective Leadership Effectiveness from the 43rd percentile in August 2019 to the 81st percentile in January 2021. 

After three years of declining revenue, the company recorded the strongest quarters ever with a lean and agile organization that drives dramatic innovation.

The boost in business performance was neither accidental nor anecdotal. 

Leadership Circle Profile™

We measured and tracked the Leadership Effectiveness of the executive team using the Leadership Circle Profile™. 

The Leadership Circle Profile™ (LCP) is a 360-degree assessment that connects a battery of leadership competencies with the underlying habits of thought in two primary leadership domains: 

Creative Competencies

Measure how leaders achieve results by bringing out the best in others, leading with vision, acting with integrity and courage, and improving organizational systems (look at the upper half of the Leadership Circle). 

Reactive Tendencies

Measures the leadership styles that emphasize caution over creating results, self-protection over productive engagement, and aggression over building alignment. 

These self-limiting styles overemphasize the focus on getting results through exerting high control, needing to be right, or gaining the approval of others (lower half of the Leadership Circle). 

The Leadership Effectiveness scale is highly correlated to business outcomes. 

Here’s the executive team's collective Leadership Circle Profile ™ before and after transformation.

August 2019

January 2021

Over the 18 months of individual and team coaching, the team increased the company’s growth profit margin from 68% to 82%.

The team attributed its success to doubling its collective Leadership Effectiveness.

The team dramatically expanded the upper half of Creative (green shade) while diminishing the lower Reactive (green shade). 

The individual effect

The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) accomplished the greatest transformation. Here is his LCP before and after.

August 2019

January 2021

The Team Effect

The team started openly discussing “the elephants in the room” that they had never dared to address before. Team members shared with their peers what their ‘One Big Shift’ was and started to hold each other accountable if they fell short of their commitments. 

The team began to create a new company culture where the creative mindsets of discovery, partnership, and abundance took precedence over the fear of failure.

The Organizational Effect

In June 2021, the direct reports of the executive team joined the leadership development program and completed the LCP. 

To my astonishment, the CRO direct report LCPs were off the charts, with the highest Leadership Effectiveness, highest Creative, and lowest Reactive.

It means that the most effective leaders develop the most effective teams..

The Ecosystem Ripple Effect

We turned to the company’s external stakeholders—customers (Primary Stakeholder), board members (Stakeholder 1), business partners (Stakeholder 2), and contractors (Stakeholder 3)—with a Team Connect 360 survey about the leadership team's performance. 

The results below prove that the senior leadership team's transformative change had a ripple effect on the company’s ecosystem beyond its organizational impact.

Operating System Upgrade

The Creative and Reactive spheres are opposite forces that pull each other towards higher or lower Leadership Effectiveness. You can imagine them as two different Internal Operating Systems(IOS). 

The Reactive operating system operates well in a predictable business environment. It fails in unpredictable situations. 

The Creative operating system excels in unpredictable environments that involve volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. 

Our work enables leadership teams to upgrade individual and collective operative systems through one-on-one and team coaching sessions.

John’s team members identified their invisible hard-wired tendencies that canceled Leadership Effectiveness and business performance. 

They could not have accomplished this work by reading a book or through self-guided personal development. 

The team members' hard work, supported by our unique approach to leadership development, yielded outstanding results in a shorter time.

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