Surprisingly few organisations truly make use of their management group as a comprehensive and powerful instrument for the business. This may sound both provocative and contradictory. It is of course the management group that steers the business forward. And it is of course the management group that makes decisions about the business’s future direction. However, in our view, the management group all too often acts as a leader for the immediate operative business. This means that there is rarely a well thought-out idea about how different management groups come together in an overall plan. There is no idea about how the business is steered by its collective management groups.
For this reason, we divide management group development into three areas:
- Individual management groups to develop high-performing teams that create conditions for operational efficiency.
- Management group cooperation. We develop cooperation between management groups which are, or should be working together, to create conditions for integration and innovation.
- Management system. We contribute to the development of a well-functioning management system with a holistic view and common management culture. We create conditions for strategic efficiency.
Management group challenges
Some of the challenges faced by a management group can be summarised in the following three main points:
- Creating internal efficiency in the group. To be able to take genuine advantage of each other’s competence, similarities and differences in a constructive way. This is about developing a culture focused on results and cooperation, communication and collective learning. A management group’s efficiency is, in our view, directly connected to the group’s relational capital – the members’ belief in each other, their ability to relate to each other, to be interested in and work towards each other’s success.
- Creating organisational efficiency. To remove obstacles and create conditions to perform. To minimise sub-optimisation and extract the full potential from the organisation – to utilise individual competence for organisational efficiency. To create both a culture and structure that support the efficient use of resources by the operative business. This requires an ability to assess the motivations of others, create the incentive for continuous development, and shape the organisation and work duties so that employees can grow in line with their work duties.
- ◦ Developing strategic capacity. To ensure that the management group are in line with expectations and changes in the world around. To be able to adapt the business, and balance the individual and highest legitimate demands placed on the business by different interested parties.
Basis of management group development
We have some fundamental ideas that shine through everything we do when we are working generally with leadership development and specifically with management group development.
- Management groups differ and need different types of support. We always customise our offer based on the specific needs. However, we can say that in general our form of management group development follows an integrated process, in which we both take part in the management group’s scheduled meetings (for observation and feedback) and some of the off-site 24-hour meetings (for more depth, agenda-driven work and reflection).
- The head of the management group must be held responsible for the efforts made. It is the head who takes the decisions about, for example, how the management group should be organised, how it should act and which mandate the management group should have. As consultants, we can only create a process that supports these decisions.
- Management groups develop best by working with their true task. Through work, we learn to know one another, and catch sight of each other’s abilities and competence. This is how we create the conditions for improved cooperation. As consultants, our task is to create a process where work with the group’s agenda takes place in a more deliberate and considered way. Through this process, with the group’s true tasks, the group is able to develop confidence and its own ability to effectively solve its task – with support and challenges, through comments and feedback from us in our role as consultants.
- Our form of management group development always has its basis in the fact that management groups act as a management system. Working with one management group means other management groups must be integrated – even if only indirectly. It is about communication, creating a common culture and common approaches for the business and business challenges.