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Extended Leadership Team events – what can be done to increase the chances of success?

Considering holding a Leadership Event in 2024? Planning on extending that invite to leaders 1 or 2 layers below the Executive Team?

In our experience many such events under achieve in terms of uniting and engaging leaders to drive innovation, collaboration, and success?

Our view is that all is not well with the configuration, contract and collaboration of extended leadership teams. That organisations spend huge amounts on annual events without significant return.

So are they a waste of resources and time? What can be done to increase the chances of success?

Let’s dive into why investing in the performance of Extended Teams could be a game-changer!

We work extensively with Executive Teams and have seen great results from those who shift from being disparate groups to cohesive teams. They reap the rewards of achieving shared results….but we’ve been hearing more and more conversations about maximizing the potential of their Extended Leadership Team.

Maybe it’s time to shake things up and guide the Executive Team and Extended Teams, to embrace a different approach that gets the Extended Leadership Team performing as well.

What exactly constitutes the Extended Team? 

Is it simply reports to Directors? That means it is not a team of equals, some run big parts of the business, others are individual experts in their field. Are they all really in critical roles as leaders of business performance?

Is it the ‘most senior’ people? An arbitrary decision taken somewhere, some left out wondering what that infers? Are these the best people to make change happen?

Or Is it some kind of badge of honour? A right due to length of service, ownership or talent potential? Perhaps just an annual habit? Do people feel closer to the organisation as a result?

What is missing is the link between membership and purpose – there is no contract or is it only implied and open to interpretation?

No matter what the definition, the lack of a ‘Contract’ is a fundamental issue. What is the deal? A jolly in return for listening to a few days of presentations? An expectation that the extended leadership will take up the communication, integration and change challenges set out in the strategy? Or something in between?

Our conclusion is that all is not well with the configuration, contract and collaboration of extended leadership teams. That organisations spend huge amounts on annual events without significant return.

So we wanted to explore how the Executive Leadership Team of our clients can truly unlock the potential of their Extended Leadership Team to propel success for the organisation.

The primary challenges and goals that Executive Teams have been expressing to us include:

  • ‘We’re eager to see the next generation of leaders fully engage with our strategic vision. It’s their energy and determination that will drive tangible change.’
  • ‘To create magic across our business, we need our Extended Teams to break out of their functional silos and collaborate seamlessly. It’s all about optimizing every aspect of the value chain to boost sales, improve cash management, optimize inventory levels, and maximize our marketing impact.’
  • ‘Let’s be real – many Executive Teams, including us, are often bogged down with firefighting situations that should be handled by our skilled staff. It’s high time we empower our people to take initiative and find solutions independently.’
  • ‘Here’s a game-changer: when we empower our Extended Teams to make decisions, we witness rapid implementation. Involving senior management tends to slow down progress. So how can we help them take charge?’
  • “If we got this right we could implement quicker, prioritise better, remove wasted time from miscommunications – that would translate into increased profit’

And… what do we hear from leaders in the Extended Teams in response?

  • ‘At last, it’s time to unleash the true power of the Extended Team by placing your trust in our abilities to tackle these critical issues head-on. Don’t just present us with bland PowerPoint slides and corporate offsites – empower and coach us to take charge and drive results without micromanaging.’
  • ‘Your dysfunction as an Executive Team hinders us and our teams from delivering as you expect. Address the obstacles we see you creating and work on synergizing activities across functions rather than focusing solely on performance within them.’
  • ‘Of course we all support collective goals, but our performance measurement is still biased to the individual. Let’s focus on shared metrics that truly matter – such as revenue growth, cash flow, and margin improvement.’
  • “When we are performing it is easy to be an Extended Team with shared objectives, the trouble is when things get tough we revert to individual focus and forget to be an Extended Team. Can we foster a culture of shared success?”

Where do we begin?

Our experience is that there are four topics that drive significant increase in performance.

Extended Team Approach

Extended Leadership Teams Approach

Mandate – the remit, decision powers and responsibilities held by the Extended Leadership Team.

Membership – the definition of who is included, why and when.

Mission – a two-year view of what the Extended Leadership team is commissioned to bring to life.

Mechanics – the skills and capabilities of organisation-wide leadership.

The work we do with Clients helps them to achieve these changes.

Coaching for extended team performance


  1. Executive Team define the Mandate.
    • A session to explore the health of the Executive Team and readiness to increase the remit of the Extended Leadership Team
    • Review of the strategy and culture to identify what changes the work of the Extended Leadership Team needs to address
    • Confirm the decision-rights and responsibilities needed
  1. Executive Team define Membership.
    • Creating a clear and enduring definition of who to include
    • Membership logic is driven by the Mandate
    • Discuss how to share the Mandate and Membership, what level of importance and visibility is appropriate
    • Agree how often they meet to ensure momentum
    • Agreeing approach to invite, volunteer or enforce membership.
  1. Extended Leadership Team with the Executive Team work on Mission
    • Understanding our respective views and aspirations
    • Sharing a sense of what it will mean to belong to the Extended LT
    • What will we collectively make happen?
    • How will we measure that?
    • How does this fit with existing goals and performance measurement?
    • What capabilities need to be developed?
  1. Broadening the Leadership capability
    1. Time together to commission the Extended Leadership Team and the ‘contract’ with the Executive Team
    2. Raising capability in topics such as:
      • Whole business economics (eg investment, cash mgt, sales, margins, dividends)
      • Joint problem solving
      • Leading change
      • Inspiring change
      • Boundary dialogues and resolution
      • Leadership Team dilemmas
  1. Engaging the Extended Leadership team at events including
    • Designing and holding whole business interactions
    • Bringing collaboration dilemmas to resolution
    • Raising cross business understanding
    • Creating more vulnerability based relationships

The business’s driven outcomes have included:

  • Increased business performance on ‘sticky’ collaboration issues
  • Increased trust in colleagues
  • Increased engagement and loyalty to the business as well as function
  • Increased talent pool with Executive Team capability
  • Increased understanding of the cross-function interactions needed for success
  • Increased space for the Executive Team to think and work on future and external topics, reduced focus internally
  • Increased time for CEO to be in the market, less time resolving cross-functional decisions

Let’s talk about how it feels in your business.

Are you experiencing frustrations of a fractured Extended Leadership environment daily. It that impacting your results?

Do you want to shake things up and guide your Executive Team and Extended Teams out of their comfort zones.

The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are within your reach.

Call or email:

David Jarrett, Danela Ezekiel

Orchard House Partners