Leadership Responsibilities: Two Focused Teams
Great leadership is a crucial ingredient in achieving the exponential growth every startup strives for.
Dilemma: execution vs redirecting
One thing that startup leaders often find difficult, is the expectation that you both:
- Ensure broad day-to-day results;
- Steer the company in a different direction when necessary.
At $Company, we try to reconcile this conflict with two different (but overlapping) leadership teams.
The Executive Team
- Contains 8-12 leaders from all key functional areas of the business;
- Meets weekly for 60-90 minutes
- Follows a strict agenda covering all performance targets of the business;
- Monitors, corrects and ensures delivery on key company targets;
- Ensures week-to-week focus on the most important priorities $Company has set for this year and quarter;
- Tries to remove or downplay any issues that can serve as distractions for delivery on these targets;
- Focuses on “doing things right”
- Can count “decisions communicated” as key output metric;
- Measures success by (1) its ability to deliver on targets (2) the ambition level of its targets when it sets them.
- Optimizes for alignment (⅔ consensus)
The Long-Range Planning Committee
- Contains 3-6 leaders and/or founders, seen as the most important bearers of $Company vision and culture. Most will but not everybody must also be a member of the Executive Team;
- Meets biweekly or monthly for 2-4 hours;
- Follows a loose agenda driven by persistently nagging opportunities and/or worries, “distracting topics”.
- Keeps questioning if $Company’s targets and achievement are the right ones to bring us closer to our long-term vision (Purpose, BHAG, Values)
- Prepares list of top 3 questions quarterly, to challenge the Executive Team on the priorities it will set for the next quarter and/or year.
- Takes deep dives into topics that may feel distracting but that have the opportunity to fundamentally alter the direction of the company;
- Focuses on “doing the right things”
- Can count “topics covered” as a key output metric, even when no decision has been made;
- Measures success by minimizing leadership crises: the ability to have thought through topics before they become urgent enough to turn into a crisis;
- Optimizes for diversity of perspective (challenge and learning), not decisions or alignment.