Helping an ExCom Group Become a High Value-Adding Team

Leaf growing from stone


The ExCom of an international financial institution was a relatively new team.  Performing well and meeting all hard target metrics, the team and the Chief Executive felt that they needed to do better particularly around “softer” metrics such as employee engagement and retention.  Working with the ExCom through a series of one-to-one interviews some challenges and opportunities in the senior team’s own working dynamic and engagement emerged. Exploring these with the team more deeply, new ways of working and engaging as an ExCom were identified and put in place creating a true high performance team culture and focus.

The Client Challenge

An established multinational player in the financial services and leasing sector with global operations headquartered out of Ireland.  A relatively new Chief Executive was keen to challenge old ways of working, seeking to drive hard and soft metrics across the business to improve bottom line performance and dramatically improve employee engagement.  With a mix of both new and long-serving ExCom team members, the challenge was to evolve ways of working and drive a new inclusive culture across the organisation. The team had not gelled and meetings had become largely formulaic, rubber-stamping encounters.

Core Insight

The business had gone through considerable change through M&A activity.  While this had led to structural change in the business the culture of the organisation was a legacy one.  ExCom leaders had adopted a very deferential and hierarchical approach to engagement with each other which permeated into how they managed their functions out into the business and engaged with stakeholders.


A detailed diagnostic was designed to look at how the ExCom worked together, the structure of ExCom meetings, the meeting agenda and individual members own views on the impact of ExCom meetings on the performance of the wider business.

The diagnostic highlighted that while individual Group members clearly respected each other the organisation did not have a culture of challenge and robust discussion. Directors deferred to each other’s expertise and did not feel empowered to challenge and delve deeply into agenda items which were not core to their brief.   Individual directors felt that the ExCom’s agenda did not allow time for exploration around current business challenges and did not let them bring their collective expertise into the room.  The team group did not identify itself as a team and felt the ExCom was a meeting for update on their functional areas of responsibility rather than a dynamic and strategic forum core to the ongoing transformation of the business.

 A series of exploratory workshops for the entire leadership team were designed to explore ways of working, engagement between individual directors, external and internal stakeholder perceptions of the team. The structure of ExCom meetings and directors’ engagement with each other beyond meetings was also reviewed.

The process itself fostered a sense of common purpose across the group and enabled members to stand back from the day-to-day dynamic of meetings and deliverables to look at what they wanted to achieve individually and collectively and stakeholders’ perceptions and expectations.


Crucially this process facilitated the creation of a strong working alliance within the ExCom shifting what had been a loose group of functional leaders to a clearly focused and dynamic team working on collective business challenges rather than viewing the business in a functionally siloed way.  Individual team members became more comfortable with respectfully challenging each other and holding each other accountable for collective outcomes.  The structure of the ExCom meeting fundamentally shifted, creating space for strategic discussion and future focused while not loosing any of the necessary focus on operational detail.  

Individual team members underwent one-to-one coaching around their own leadership style and ways of working.  This helped to embed a high-value adding ethos within the ExCom and across the business.

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