What is Executive Community?
The Concept of Executive Community
Executive Community is a new, developmentally-driven concept of leadership behavior in organizations developed by Dr. David Gerard. It is based on the observation that leaders function best when they:
- Make decisions with input from others to take full advantage of their organization’s intellectual capital;
- Develop internal harmony in order to permit rapid execution across the organization’s divisions and departments;
- Understand their role as part of a management team;
- Know when to use competitive approaches and when to be collaborative; and
- See themselves as partners and allies with other executives instead of as rivals and antagonists.
By “executive community” we mean a conscious process in which senior executives develop shared organizational values and practices with their peers and other managers in their organization, with the intent of establishing a workplace for all based on collaboration, integrity, knowledge-sharing, creative conflict and synergy.
Executive Community represents a fresh approach to leadership by recognizing the realities of organizational dynamics, business strategy and communications, customer and employee satisfaction and management development within a unified and comprehensive model. It acknowledges that the business environment in which executives operate is fluid, global, extremely competitive and time-sensitive. It recognizes, as well, that the executives of the present and the future are no longer typically older white men in gray suits, even though, oddly enough, most models of executive coaching still seem to reflect that stereotype. It is time for a new type of executive development program, based on the needs of managers in the 21st century.
Executive communities in organizations apply the theories and practices of the “learning organization” through developmental approaches to executive assessment, professional coaching, mentoring, peer coaching and teaching, team building processes, cross-divisional alliances and strategic partnering and collaboration. Each of these activities take on new meaning when viewed from the standpoint of Executive Community, for the perspective is no longer the individualistic “me-first” approach of the isolated manager. Careerism is replaced by a greater concern for the sustained health and vitality of the organization and its community of customers and employees, even the industry as a whole. Self-development, within an executive community, starts with an awareness of the whole system.
We are often asked what makes the concept of “executive community” different from seemingly similar concepts such as executive team-building or simply alignment between senior leadership’s individual goals and the goals of the organization.
Our answer is that the driving force behind the achievement of executive community is the commitment on the part of those who lead to two developmental steps:
- A deepening of their self-awareness, focused especially on their impact on others within the organization and the organization’s customers; and
- An unrelenting honing of their collaborative and network building skills, without giving up their right to a “point of view”.
We must emphasize that executive community is not a mindless “feel-good” attitude toward the tasks of leadership, for it recognizes that addressing issues of competitiveness and power both inside and outside the organization is required for simple survival. Creating executive community involves an iterative process requiring well-disciplined critical business thinking skills, a type of continuous improvement for an organization’s leaders.
The old model of brutal internal management wars between competitive rivals inside organizations is dying.
Replacing it will be new ways of working together, where developing strategic alliances among the formal and informal leaders of organizations will hold the keys to surviving and thriving.
If you’re looking for consulting support on your organization’s executive issues that is both “down-to-earth” and “leading-edge,” contact us or give us a call at 800-513-8759 . We’ll schedule a no-cost, no-pressure meeting with David at a convenient time in your office. We look forward to hearing from you!
Read some of the success stories of Executive Community