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Eight Roles of Leadership

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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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