What does it take to make it to the C-Suite?

What does it take to make it to the C-Suite?

A Review of "Leadership Team Alignment: Form Conflict to Collaboration"

Leadership Team Alignment From Conflict to Collaboration Book Cover
McGill Executive Institute

A prominent leadership specialist warns that you should be wary of the advice you find in leadership books because so many of them focus on how things ought to be in organizations rather than paying attention to how things truly are.[1] Executives picking up Leadership Team Alignment: From Conflict to Collaboration, co-written by Godart and Neatby, need not worry about this. 

As Harvard Business School’s Julie Battilana writes in her endorsement, their book “consistently emphasize[s] the real over the ideal [and] illustrates how members of high performing teams can effectively work together”. Craig Smith, Group President of Marriott International, concurs, saying that the book “bridges a wide gap: what we think we know about leadership teams and what it really takes to have an effective leadership team.”

The reason the book is so powerful is no doubt tied to the authors’ backgrounds. Godart is a leading academic at INSEAD in Europe but started his career with McKinsey & Company. Neatby, a McGill Executive Institute and EMBA lecturer, is a former executive at the world’s no. 2 testing and inspection company. Today, he is a special leadership team advisor to Global Fortune 500 companies in North America and Europe. As a result, the book leverages cutting-edge team research and its advice is based on hundreds of hours of direct observation of high performing leadership teams, and thousands more hours working with their executives to address real-life business issues.

Debunking much of the received wisdom on leadership team dysfunctionality, Part I of the book covers what sets leadership teams apart from other teams. This includes the dual role of executive team members and the challenge they face in reconciling their unit leader role and their organizational leader role. It also covers power games at the top.  Part II addresses how to improve specific aspects of any leadership team. Both sections are full of concrete examples and cases.

The authors say the books is primarily aimed at CEOs, but we think it will prove just as useful to executives who want a fast-track to the C-Suite. This is because it so vividly explains the rules of the game at the top, while “offer[ing] a helpful suite of recommendations and action items” says Michael Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis. Indeed, every chapter ends with an “Actionable Insights” section, perfect for busy executives who don’t have much spare time for reading. 

Leadership Team Alignment is available on Amazon and at the Le James Book Store on the McGill campus.