Helping a Growth-Orientated CEO and Leadership Team Turn Camaraderie Into Candor to Accelerate Performance

Situation

Camaraderie can bond a leadership team and build trust — but it also can obstruct candid strategic discussions. When Kim Lecha took the reins as CEO at tech scale-up Typeform following its series B funding, he was given a simple piece of advice to maintain the company’s rapid growth rate: “It's amazing how fast you learn, but to keep evolving, to keep growing, you should have a coach.” So, he turned to Trium to catalyze a performance shift at his company.

Challenge

In our early engagement, what we found was a team with a huge amount of camaraderie. The team respected each other and would often have dinner and drinks together. Many had worked together for a long period of time with a huge amount of mutual appreciation. And at that level, there was trust. What was missing, though, was candid conversation about the strategic issues that face many rapidly-scaling businesses. Issues like how to continue growing rapidly without increasing customer acquisition costs, aligning on the next big market segment to pursue, and how to balance investments in brand building with those made in customer acquisition. Having open conversations about critical strategic decisions can test camaraderie, but Kim recognized the need to incorporate tough decisions to maximize the leadership team's impact. Stronger performance would be unlocked by finding a new way of operating and engaging that was more direct, strategic, and efficient.

Resolution

The Typeform leadership team had to translate their deep cohesion and trust into a system that allowed them to rise to the lofty ambitions of the business. That elevation required strategy clarification. And even more importantly, it required each individual getting clear about who they could be as leaders, and then collectively about how they wanted to operate as a team. The coaching helped the team to “operate in a different way.” Engage differently. Speak authentically. Be more direct. Learn how to have strategic conversations. From that came compelling conversations that brought the growth strategy into even sharper focus. Trium’s leadership coaching helped Kim and his team to reassess their approach to how they work together. By approaching difficult conversations with candor, the team is able to more effectively communicate, strategize and gain alignment. That in turn has driven a higher level of accountability and further strengthened the team.

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