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Eight Roles of Leadership

Successful firms meet the challenge of selecting, combining, and effectively implementing the appropriate combination of strategic approaches—what we refer to as the strategy collage—and adjusting it dynamically as circumstances change. This calls for leaders to take critical overarching roles in animating the collage. We identified eight key leadership roles in today's complex and dynamic environment.

Diagnostician

Continuously takes an external perspective to diagnose the degree of predictability, malleability, and harshness of each business environment, and matches this with the required strategic approach for each part of the firm.

Segmenter

Structures the firm to match the strategic approach to the environment at the right level of granularity, balancing the trade-off between precision and complexity.

Disruptor

Reviews the diagnosis and segmentation on an ongoing basis, in line with shifts in the environment, to protect the organization from becoming rigid and to modulate or change approaches when necessary.

Team Coach

Selects the right people for the job of managing each cell in the collage in line with their capabilities and helps to develop their understanding of the strategy palette, both intellectually and experientially.

Salesperson

Advocates and communicates the strategic choices as a whole, in a clear and coherent narrative, to investors and employees.

Inquisitor

Sets and retunes the correct context for each particular strategic approach by asking probing questions—not dictating answers—to help stimulate the critical flow of thought that is appropriate for, and characteristic of, each approach.

Antenna

Looks outward continuously and selectively amplifies important signals to ensure that each unit stays in tune with the changing external environment.

Accelerator

Puts weight behind select critical initiatives to speed up or bolster their implementation, especially when the required approach has changed, is unfamiliar, or is likely to be resisted.

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