When you think about the senior team of your organization, maybe the department heads, are they evaluated based on their contribution to THE mission or THEIR mission?

One of the central issues in many organizations is that departments develop a mission of their own that isn’t really a subset of the overall.  In other words, what they’re doing may be individually great but is at times operating counter to what the overall organization is trying to do.

I’ve been working my way through Ram Charan’s new book, Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don’t and I have to say, this is one of those books that grows on you…as you digest and then write about it.  Reading the first 5 or 6 chapters definitely has been enhanced by thinking through the implications and then writing something about it.  For example, check out the 5th diagnostic question that Charan asks:

"Are you molding a team by getting highly competent leaders to submerge their egos and coordinate seamlessly?"

Now, before you move right on to the next blog in your bloglines reader, think about the question Charan is asking.  Think about what it means between the lines.

Here’s what I have observed.  Many organizations operate in a less effective manner.  The reason that Charan is able to identify this behavior as a key to better performance is that most organizations don’t have this concept in mind.  Instead, each silo is allowed to operate independently, even in a kind of competition with the other parts of the team.

For example, let’s say you’re coming up on a major opportunity…one that will require the best efforts of an entire department…and even the participation of other departments in order to pull it off.  Do you have that situation in mind?  When that happens, are your other departments allowed to beg off, saying, "We’d love to help, but we’ve just got too much going on?"  If they can say that then you need this book more than you might even realize.  Because until you have the ability to truly gather everyone on the same mission, you really don’t have a central mission that compels everyone.  And until you have that kind of mission your chances of operating at peak effectiveness are slim.  You can order a copy right here and join the conversation!

Submerging Ego