Not all management teams are created equal. Some increase the capabilities of a business exponentially. While others seem to be put together by accident with little strategy or planning and, as a result, little contribution to the success of the business or the CEO.
Well-balanced, agile, powerful management teams make all the difference in the world. (We call them High Performance Management Teams for obvious marketing reasons.) They’re not easy to come by. Sometimes they take years to build. But no CEO with a good management team has ever seriously wished they weren’t there.
Here are ten reasons why it’s worth the bother.
1. You get things done faster.
This is pretty obvious. The more people hours you can focus on the business (within reason), the faster you can make progress. But a High Performance management team provides benefits beyond just more people to throw at running the business. They remove stumbling blocks, add hours to the day and make the business more efficient.
2. You can scale the business.
A strong management team provides the infrastructure for growing bigger than you could grow alone. Think of the old circus act where one performer tries to keep plates spinning on top of poles. He (I don’t think any of them were a “she”) gets the plates spinning and then runs from pole to pole to keep them going. There is a limit to how many plates he can keep going and for how long. Now imagine if he had another performer or two or five helping him keep the plates going. They could add a lot more. Those plates are your customers, your employees, your products, your locations, your distribution channels, etc.
3. They keep you on your toes.
A good team will push you to consider other – often better – options. They will bring you new ideas and solutions. They will also argue with you, constructively, when they feel it is warranted. They’ll keep you out of a rut.
Carey Ransom, CEO at RealPractice, actively promotes conflict in his team. He says the willingness to engage and challenge each other without being personal is very powerful. It makes him consider things he might never have considered; to go in directions he might never have gone.
4. They help you make sure everyone knows what to do.
Back in the early stage of your business, communication probably wasn’t an issue. After all, there weren’t that many of you and you were all focused on getting the product developed and out the door. Now that you have more people and more distractions it’s harder to hear and be heard. Your management team serves as a conduit – albeit a dynamic one – helping to make sure information flows up and down.
5. You can take advantage of more opportunities.
While sometimes it might feel like every issue you face is a problem to be solved, the business world is full of opportunities too. If your head is in the weeds, buried in the daily minutia, how will you see these opportunities? A High Performance Management Team not only gives you the extra bandwidth needed to take advantage of these opportunities, the team frees your time and mind to identify these opportunities in the first place.
6. They will make you smarter.
Someone – I’ve forgotten who – once cleverly said “no one of us is smarter than all of us”. Everyone on your team brings unique experiences, expertise and points of view. When the team is well balanced you can pretty much handle anything that comes along.
7. They will cover for your weaknesses.
Over the years I’ve run across a few CEOs who thought they could do everything. They were wrong. As human beings we all have interests and behavior patterns that make us good at some things and not so good at others. For example, I’m big on strategy and planning and helping our clients take new ground. Throw a bunch of raw numbers at me and my head will explode. As a CEO, if you leave your weaknesses unprotected you leave your company vulnerable. A well-balanced management team includes members whose strengths backfill for your natural weaknesses.
8. They’ll do stuff you don’t want to do.
Similarly, over the broad spectrum of things it takes to run a company, we have all interests in some areas and other areas bore us to distraction. I work with a number of CEOs who have engineering backgrounds. Most of them are problem solvers. They’d rather not spend a lot of time thinking about people issues. With the right people on their management team, they don’t have to. It works the same way if you’re action oriented and dislike details.
9. They will help you create an environment for success.
CEO Matt Blumberg of Return Path lists this as one of the three top responsibilities of his management team. Writing on his blog earlier this year, Matt says his management team helps him address critical questions such as “Do people like to come to work every day? When they get there, do they know what they’re supposed to do, and how it connects to the company’s mission? Are people learning and growing? Are you building an enduring organization beyond you as a leader?”
Environments such as the one Matt and his team are focused on maintaining are important not only for the efficiency of the organization but also in order to attract and keep good employees.
10. You’ll eliminate some stress.
There’s a lot of stress on a CEO – especially the CEO of a rapidly growing company. A weak or non-existent management team can add to the stress, but a High Performance Management Team can go a long way toward making your life better. Why? See reasons 1 through 9.