by Matthew Levy

A dysfunctional executive team dynamic will create a weaker strategy and a budget executives don’t really believe in or commit to.  A strongly aligned and effective executive team will develop a more innovative strategy and a better budget.

So, one of the most important and timely decisions a CEO must make now is whether or not to address executive team dynamics as part of planning for next year.

Problem:Budget Strategy Team Dynamics Team

As we enter the tail-end of the year, executives are balancing these three things simultaneously:

  • Ensuring results for this year,
  • Planning strategy for next year, and
  • Creating a budget based on that strategy to which everyone will be expected to commit.

To often, strategy development gets rushed at year end, lacks innovation, or doesn’t happen until after a budget is hacked out.  The right conversations don’t happen, and everyone pretends that the elephant in the room isn’t there. Little if any focus is put on the possibly dysfunctional team dynamic that is contributing to the entire process being ineffective.  As a result, executives don’t really believe in the plans, budget or their targets, and the “buy-in” is inauthentic. Executives lack confidence in the team and company starts the new year handicapped.

Executive team dynamics that allowed this to happen before have again contaminated the process, creating a weak foundation for next year — at best.

Assessing Your Situation

Could this happen at your company?  Take a minute to consider these six questions and assess where your team stands what you must address this planning season.

Six Questions to Assess Executive Team Alignment (Short Version — Our proprietary team executive team assessment covers 20 elements of high performance teams].

  1. Is the company consistently meeting or exceeding its objectives?  Y  N Unsure
  2. Are all executives sufficiently committed to the same very compelling and bold vision, strategy, plans, and goals?  Y  N Unsure
  3. Are team members more focused on their own departmental goals to the detriment of their commitment to the top-level corporate objectives?  Y  N  Unsure
  4. Can all executives consistently expose the elephants in the room?  Y  N  Unsure
  5.  Can the team discuss the most difficult issues and bring them to resolution, decision and follow through?  Y  N Unsure
  6. Does the team and its members consistently do what they promise and deliver promised results Y  N Unsure

If you can’t confidently answer  “yes” to all of these questions, then executive team dynamics will negatively impact the planning process.


Address executive team dynamics before, or if you’ve already begun, along with the strategic planning and budget process this year.  Here’s why:

  1. It can be much faster and easier than most executives realize.
  2. It allows executives to uncover and address performance issues and organizational and strategic concerns at the same time.
  3. It allows for a better strategy and budget.
  4. It will have an immediate and profound impact on innovation and performance that will carry over to next year.

Don’t let team dynamics contaminate the planning process or carry the dysfunction into next year.

Instead, take decisive action.  Address the team dynamic issues as they come up before and during the annual planning process to ensure the best strategy and budget possible. Doing so now will prepare the team for success so the company can hit the ground running in January.

Be prepared to lead change and growth next year as never before.  

To learn more about our proprietary 20-factor Executive Team Assessment and our Executive Team Alignment and Strategy Processes, send us a note.

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Matthew Levy Results Management Group Executive Coach deepwork deep work coach Family business

Matthew Levy is the Chief Catalyst and principal of RESULTS MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, a growth management consulting and executive coaching firm that dramatically shifts business results by: facilitating the creation of compelling visions and strategiesaligning executive and other management teamsdeveloping an organizational capacity to manage execution and designing organizational environments that support the attainment of dramatically better results in any area.