Has your business ever faced a truly major challenge? Think, for instance, about needing a completely new IT system. You need to think about who will be best suited to face that challenge efficiently. In the case of an IT system, you may think that the Chief Information Officer is the best person to turn to, since the IT department reports to them. But at the same time, the stakeholder is the IT department itself, servicing the entire company, so it may make more sense to ask them to manage it. The reality is that, what you need, is a specific strategic management team for each major challenge you come across, rather than a single, established team.
How do you build a strategic management team, however? If you look at someone like Infor CEO Charles Phillips, who runs all his affairs through a strategic management team, it may seem quite easy. In reality, however, it requires quite a bit of effort.
Elements of a Strategic Management Team
- The team has to be made up of a number of core members, who should all be senior leaders, as well as being relevant stakeholders. This way, a multidisciplinary team of leaders is instantly created.
- The CEO should provide a broad objective, such as improving market position, increasing innovation, or lowering production cost. The core team then works together, through their different positions, to determine how to achieve that. They are collectively end responsible.
- The CEO has to be incredibly courageous and give the decision-making powers out of hand. The strategic management team has the authority to make decisions and they can only do that if they know they are trusted to do so. They are not an advisory body, in other words, but are in a position of authority.
- The core team should be supported by an extended team. This consists of fluid members, who can be added and removed as and when required. This can include people within the organization, but also external vendors, for instance. They are there to answer the questions the core team comes up with.
- Outside talent can be brought in to facilitate specific actions. This can include such people as business coaches and brainstorming experts. They can help the core team to address and resolve problems.
- The CEO is there to influence, monitor, and measure progress of the strategic team. They work closely together with the team, thereby demonstrating their personal leadership style. This is inspirational for members of the team, who will take this back to their own teams as well.
- All decisions made by the core team have to be communicated properly to everyone else in the organization. Employees should not just be encouraged to communicate back; it should be expected of them. This is not a time for hierarchy, it is a time for engagement. Every voice should have an opportunity to be heard, as the best ideas often come from the most unexpected places.