Category Archives: Executive Assessment

Posts in this category relate to evaluating and communicating executive performance.

Driving new growth: Don’t assume your team’s skills are right for what’s next

In mountain climbing, reaching a mid-mountain plateau is not as fulfilling as ascending to the summit. Rarely will any climber start out to scale a mountain with the idea of stopping at a plateau below the summit.

But in planning the assault on the mountain, veteran climbers know that different skills and capabilities are needed at each step along the way. The skills that enabled you to reach Base Camp on Mt. Everest – such as the ability to navigate rocky terrain in a relatively oxygen-rich environment – won’t be enough to reach the summit, where climbing in snow and ice with little oxygen is the challenge. 

Your organization faces a similar circumstance. SETD program

The executive leadership skills that got your organization to its current level of success may not be the skills needed to get it to the next stage. 

Reaching a growth plateau

Organizations often hit a “growth pause” – a point at which their current executive leadership’s expertise goals have been realized, revenues and profits plateau, and growth slows or stalls altogether. 

An executive team leading a pre-product startup requires a different set of skills than the knowhow needed to optimize operations for a credible, sustainable, or mature business. At this point, leadership abilities need to be reevaluated to determine what is needed for continued ascendance. 

Organizations must ask themselves several questions: 

  • What mix of skills do we need  to succeed at our current stage and to get ready for the next? 
  • Does our team have the mix of skills needed? 
  • Will gaps in executive team skills hamper growth? 
  • Can our team’s skill set be developed or enhanced for success now, such as through hiring or culling, and to get ready for the next stage? 

In almost every case, the right mix of leadership team skills can address stalled growth and get you back on track. Earlier needed skills may no longer be helping, and necessary new skills may be missing. Or, the skill development strategy may need to be overhauled. 

Assessing the pause cause

IntelliVen has constructed a one-of-a-kind, tailored, thorough and immersive program to provide answers and solutions to these questions and more. 

The Strategic Executive Team Development Program provides a leader and team with unique insight into the needed skill sets at each stage of an organization’s development, based on 24,000 data points gathered over decades of research

The program approach is  rooted in an extensive study of the best mix of skills in executive leadership for each stage of organization maturity, from pre-market concept to mature going concern. 

IntelliVen Principal consultant Dr. Brent Green and the IntelliVen team offer a unique executive team skills assessment and gap analysis. This offering pinpoints the capabilities needed to spark new growth for your organization by assessing your team’s skills, then comparing them to your organization’s benchmark stage. 

Assessments are conducted using data collected in one-on-one sessions with the CEO and interviews and electronic surveys with each team member. Insights and recommendations are shared with the CEO ahead of interactive, facilitated sessions that explore results and implications with the team. 

Unblocking growth

The process reveals executive team members’ individual and collective proficiencies in a mix of nine competencies across three categories: 

  • Knowledge of industry, technology and organizational capabilities
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize what they know
  • Planning and execution. 

We refer to the three areas as KNOW, THINK, and ACT.

The results reveal deficiencies in skills that likely block growth and hinder the evolution of the organization to the next stage.

Most importantly, the program offers custom executive team development action plans, for each team member and for the team as a whole, that address gaps and opportunities for development specific to your venture and team, help them evolve, rekindle growth, and put them back on a “hockey stick” growth curve.

Based on the IntelliVen Manage to Lead System, the action plans align your team members and focus them on evolving the business to address performance and growth blockers.

The MtL tools, templates, and methods are taught in an Immersion Program that is unique in that it is team-based leadership development that captures proven best practices for driving change as applied to your organization’s case.

MtL distills the lessons of a team of highly successful leaders over decades into a clear and concise series of modules and accompanying tools. Elements of it have been taught at MIT, Stanford, University of Maryland, George Mason University, Golden Gate University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Learn more about the new program here:  Strategic Executive Team Development Program 

Case: The Ideal Mix of Sr. Executive Team Skills for Success

Case Background

Leaders of fast-growing, early-stage organizations operate at a fast pace. Often, the last thing there is time to do is to assess the top team’s skills and performance to determine how to prepare them for the next stage of growth.

Most team members know each other pretty well. They have a good idea about:

  • What each other is good at doing.
  • What each has contributed.
  • How each has grown.
  • What each should focus on next to improve.

However, team members rarely have the time, energy, training, or nerve to share what they know in a forthright, supportive conversation with one another.

Yet there are serious consequences to not providing feedback when it is needed most. As highlighted in the Wall Street Journal article, “How To Tell If You Are a Jerk in the Office” (C-Suite Strategies, Journal Report, Feb 23, 2015), confidential feedback for executives is important. Not only are leaders and co-workers affected adversely by dysfunctional behavior, but business performance and customer service can be damaged, often permanently, if poor behavior continues.

IntelliVen, a San Francisco-based executive development organization, uses a proprietary approach to help top leaders and their teams address executive feedback issues head-on. For example, IntelliVen worked with a fast-paced, $10M financial analytics firm serving Freddie Mac, U.S. Treasury, and Capital One among other leading financial institutions. The IntelliVen approach was used to assess the firm’s top team of senior executives relative to norms for successful organizations at a similar stage of evolution and to identify individual and team opportunities for learning.

Continue reading Case: The Ideal Mix of Sr. Executive Team Skills for Success

CEO Role

Every organization has, or needs, a leader. And it is true that the power of one committed, clear person can make all the difference in the world. But no one individual, even the greatest leader, does anything of much significance alone.

 *Excerpted From: Get Aligned Section of Manage to Lead, Seven Truths to Help You Change the World page 49, exhibit 36.
CEO Responsibilities from the book “Manage to Lead

The best leaders know that it is not all about them. It is about their team. Consequently, one of a CEO’s most important jobs (see highlighted text at left) is to ensure that every team member knows what the leader and team expects from her/him to achieve planned results.

How to Empower Executive Teams

A good way for executives to know what team members need from them is to ask each to share views on their own, and on each others’, individual strengths, contributions, growth, and opportunities for development. Continue reading CEO Role

How to Drive Elite C-Suite Performance

In a traditional performance evaluation, someone is assigned to compile and review with each executive a summary of her/his strengths, contributions, growth, and opportunities for improvement. The traditional process has many weaknesses which are summarized in this article recently published by Flevy.com, such as:

  • Compiling a quality performance assessment is difficult; consequently it often gets put off to be done at the last minute but it also takes time to do a good job and time runs out.
  • Assessment content tends to be arbitrary based on ability, skills, and perspective of the reviewer and may not represent the best thinking or interests of the team.
  • Reviewers tend to avoid raising and dealing with tough matters that should be addressed aggressively because it is uncomfortable and they are not trained or motivated to do otherwise.

Continue reading How to Drive Elite C-Suite Performance

How an Executive Performance Assessment Process helped a COO become a CEO.

Leaders of fast growing, early stage organizations operate at such a fast pace that often the last thing there is time to do is assess each member of the top team’s performance to determine how to prepare them for the next stage of evolution.

Most team members know each other pretty well. They have a good idea what each other is good at, has contributed, how they have grown, and what they should focus on next for success. However, team members rarely have the time, energy, training, or nerve to share what they know in a forthright, supportive conversation with one another. Continue reading How an Executive Performance Assessment Process helped a COO become a CEO.