Episode #147 – Cultivating Collaboration: Keys to Fostering High-Performing Leadership Teams

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In this episode of the Team Anywhere podcast, join Thomas Keil and Marianna Zangrillo Co-Authors of the Book, The Next Leadership Team: How to Select, Build, and Optimize Your Top Team as they dive into the fascinating world of CEOs and leadership teams. Discover why Thomas and Marianna are so captivated by these individuals and their stories, and how they transform these stories into valuable research and insights. 

Gain insights into the secret of choosing great leadership teams and the different types of teams they have observed, ranging from cohesive units to high-performing “stretch teams.” Explore the challenges and requirements of forming and managing stretch teams, and learn about the importance of clear norms and adaptable individuals. Tune in for a thought-provoking conversation that sheds light on effective leadership team dynamics and strategies as we Team Anywhere.

Sharing Their Amazing Journey into Leadership

Thomas Keil and Marianna Zangrillo are fascinated by CEOs and their leadership teams because they believe these individuals have compelling stories to tell. They view these stories as an opportunity for serious research and a source of valuable insights. Their interest lies in capturing and sharing the positive aspects of these stories, including the tricks and techniques that can help others improve their own leadership skills. The two met in 2008 when Thomas was a professor and Marianna was a VP, and they discovered a shared interest despite having different perspectives. Their complementary knowledge and experiences make them a strong research and writing team.

The Secret to Choose Great Leadership Teams

Thomas Keil and Marianna Zangrillo discuss the complexities of building and working with a great leadership team. They highlight the surprising insight they gained from interviewing around a hundred CEOs: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to forming a successful team. Instead, they discovered that there are multiple effective ways to lead a team, which challenges the desire for a single recipe or trick. Marianna reflects on how leaders must assess their current situation and determine if it aligns with their desired direction for their leadership team.

The Different Types of Leadership Teams

Thomas Keil and Marianna Zangrillo discuss the different types of leadership teams they have observed. They use the analogy of Shark Tank and a petting zoo to illustrate their findings. They explain that while some teams function as a cohesive unit from the start, others can elevate themselves from a petting zoo-like dynamic to a high-performing team with clear goals and a shared understanding of how they work together. They also note that a combination of different team types can be effective depending on the organizational challenges at hand. The key is for the board and CEO to carefully consider the specific mandate and goals of the organization when selecting a leadership approach.

What are Stretch Teams?

In their podcast conversation, Thomas Keil and Marianna Zangrillo discuss the concept of a “stretch team” and the challenges of forming such a team. They emphasize the importance of establishing strong norms and rules that everyone must adhere to within the team. They explain that a non-performing team often arises when there is a mismatch of perspectives, such as having both “sharks” and “petters” who are unable to effectively work together. They highlight that a stretch team requires individuals who are versatile and capable of adapting their approach based on the situation, which places higher demands on both the CEO and team members. The rarity of stretch teams is attributed to the difficulty of finding individuals who can stretch themselves and fulfill the diverse roles required for performance.

Who is Thomas Keil?

Thomas Keil is an academic who strives to bridge the gap between academia and practice. As the chair of international management at the University of Zurich, he teaches strategy and international management. With a research focus on the senior leader’s agenda in multinational corporations, Thomas has published extensively in renowned European and North American journals, receiving multiple international awards. His teaching experience spans various programs and continents, and he is a sought-after keynote speaker. Additionally, Thomas serves as a partner in The Next Advisors, a consulting firm that advises CEOs, executives, and boards of diverse industries. Beyond work, he finds joy in a fulfilling family life with his beloved wife, children, and their canine companion.

Who is Marianna Zangrillo?

MARIANNA ZANGRILLO, D.SC., is a corporate leader, business angel, investor, author, and partner at The Next Advisors. For over 20 years, she’s led transformation and ROI initiatives across multiple industries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Her newest book along with co-author Thomas Keil, is: The Next Leadership Team: How to Select, Build, and Optimize Your Top Team . (May 24, 2023). Learn more at thenextadvisors.ch.

How to Create A High-Performance Remote Team:

Improve Remote Team Work:

How To Excel as a Remote Team Member

Improve Remote Leadership Skills:

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager

How to Build Virtual Accountability

Cultivating Collaboration Quotes

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