4. Emphasize training. Teamwork skills vary enormously from individual to individual. Coaching can make the difference. For example, the CEO of a major telecommunications company recognized that the marketing department needed to play a bigger role in the organization. The sales and marketing vice president clearly possessed the functional skills and knowledge for the role, but he was not a natural team player. A former tennis champion, he was more used to going solo. A 360-degree appraisal, which included perspectives from senior and junior colleagues as well as peers, identified the marketing chief’s limitations and convinced him of the need for change. Subsequently, personal coaching helped him collaborate more effectively with his peers. The manager’s personality did not change — at heart, he still preferred singles tennis — but he was able to learn to play a different game.
Adherence to these guidelines cannot guarantee success, but it improves the odds. Chief executive officers who adopt them will be less likely to pay a heavy price for pursuing change for the right reasons in the wrong way.
Max Landsberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) co-heads Heidrick & Struggles’ leadership consulting practice in the U.K. He specializes in developing senior executive teams that are aligned to commercial strategy.
Madelaine Pfau (email@example.com) is managing partner of client services at Heidrick & Struggles. She focuses on helping major corporations recruit top executives and enhance their talent management capabilities.