Monthly Archives: February 2015

It Takes All Kinds

There is no "right" behavioral style for a CEO

Checking the Day’s Skiing Performance Stats

Does your management team share common behaviors and talents? Should they?

I recently had the good fortune to spend three days and four nights with five other adult males skiing in Colorado.  Lots of guy talk and guy smells and guy consumption of unhealthy foods along with a small amount of alcoholic beverages.

I took the photograph shown here during an afternoon après-ski gathering.  My friend of some forty years is in the process of studying his day’s skiing statistics (number of runs, vertical feet skied, top speed) through slightly bloodshot eyes.  Every day, he and one other from our group (who has the same ski app on his cellphone) compared data, mainly to determine who skied the fastest. Some really lively dialog ensued regarding who posted the top rate of descent. (Clarifying note: Only two of the six in our group kept the stats and competed for the land speed record among six old farts.)

As I listened to the third day of competitive comparisons, I snapped this photo as a reminder that it’s OK when personal behavioral differences exist among cooperating groups of humans.  The freaks who compete on skiing speeds are no righter or wronger than the freaks who are slightly anal making sure we show up on time for a dinner reservation. Our group comes together annually for a few days of skiing and camaraderie, and we certainly have some common values and interests; but we’re far from clones when it comes to behavioral styles or attitudes.  Is there ever friction?  Sure.  Is it a more effective “team” because of some differences?  I think so.

As CEO, have you intentionally put together a leadership team with very similar styles?  How about similar perspectives?  Common behaviors and values normally lead to increased harmony.  But ask yourself whether your business has a greater need right now for harmony or for great strategy and execution.

Assembling and working with a “team of differents” can be taxing. Every time Kevin becomes confrontational, Laurie shuts down. Mike is so laid back and slow to react that it drives Julie nuts. Emmet looks at everything from a return-on-investment perspective, while Jules is committed to providing jobs and support for the local community at almost any cost. Blending this type of team together for weekly staff meetings or quarterly strategic reviews is exhausting. But is it likely to produce a stronger business than a “team of similars”?

I’m sure you have some thoughts on this. Let me know where you stand on the traits of a strong management team.

(By the way, the top speed recorded this ski trip was just over 50 mph.)