Open Team Evaluation Creates Comfortable Culture

Article excerpt

Your leadership team and the culture it fosters can make the difference between enjoying your business activities -- and dreading them.

John's company, for instance, finally reached the size where it needed and could support a quality chief financial officer. John's executive vice president narrowed the list of applicants to three qualified individuals, whom John interviewed. John thoroughly enjoyed the interviews and interaction with two of the applicants, but his interview with the third one was different. Although he didn't particularly like the man, John considered that applicant's experience and qualifications superior to the other two. He selected the third applicant, Ron, because, in his words, "I felt that it was in the best interests of my company to go with the best-qualified applicant rather than the ones I thought I'd enjoy spending time with."

John made a bad mistake. The CFO did not work out. None of his other executives liked Ron, and the team culture was negatively affected. Since John didn't like dealing with the man, he didn't spend the time that he should have just brainstorming with an important part of his team.

John violated one of the most important rules of successful catalyst leadership: Surround yourself with qualified people you enjoy spending time with. That team selection philosophy will bring about a culture where you spend structured as well as unstructured time with your key players. Much important feedback -- and many of your most important decisions -- will come about because you truly enjoy being with these people.

In developing your objectives for achieving personal success and happiness, look closely at the business culture you're creating. You spend a substantial part of your life interacting with the people in your company. I do not want to spend my time with negative people socially, so why would I want to spend my business hours with anyone who is negative by nature?

I use an evaluation approach that helps develop the type of culture I want among my team. That culture includes an openness that goes beyond the currently popular "open book management. …