There are many teams within Decision Tech: from departmental units, to the Executive, not forgetting the five-a-side team, but one of the most pivotal for us, is our ‘Heads Of’ team.
Where the company strategy is devised by the Executive Team (Exec) it is the Heads Of team (HO) that has the responsibility of driving delivery of that strategy. Without them, it is all just a set of potentially great plans on paper.
The Heads Of team is a mouthpiece between the Exec and each department, allowing effective communication in both directions. They ensure our staff have a clear understanding of our strategy and key messages, and that the Exec receive regular feedback on strategic delivery, and have a clear picture of the successes and challenges of our entire staff base.
Great in principle, however it is only through trial and error that we now recognise that just creating the team isn’t enough, the critical elements are having the right team members and the right attitudes at the heart of the HO team.
When we originally formed our Heads of unit, it swiftly became a disproportionately large group, primarily because we thought that every department had to have a representative on the team. When every department has its own representative the mindset rapidly becomes protectionist. The feeling that each person is there solely to represent ‘their’ department’s interests even if that comes at the expense of other departments, or the company itself. As a result, trust within the team was eroded, personalities clashed and there was no sense of unity.
We recognised that a change was needed in order to develop a far more cohesive team, where trust and unity were the driving forces and key decisions were made as a team. We wanted everyone on the Heads Of team to have confidence in decision making and know that all contributions, suggestions and decisions were made with the best interests of the company as the key motivator.
We knew that making the change would involve us looking closely at the behaviours being modelled by the Exec team too.
- Did we reflect the levels of trust and unity we expected to see in the Heads Of?
- Had we created the space for the Heads Of team to step up and deliver the strategy?
- Were we delivering consistent messages for them to share with the wider departments?
Put simply, we were falling short too. So we began to be the change we wanted to see in our Heads Of team.
Gradually natural staff turnover allowed us to reduce the numbers in the team. We became highly selective when it came to choosing the right people and personalities for the team, and being on the team very much became a position earned. Not every team has a representative, but every team IS represented by every single Heads Of team member.