What is leadership strategy all about?

Adapted from the white paper: Bridging the Performance / Strategy Gap: How leadership strategy drives business results

Walter Bayly, CEO of Banco de Credito and COO of Credicorp Group:

“Credicorp is diversifying and entering into new lines of business in new markets. Our leadership strategy must guide us in structuring our business, developing our people and shaping the culture that is right for the different industries and markets that we enter.”

If crafting a leadership strategy is so important to strategy execution and achieving superior performance is so essential – what is leadership strategy all about?  How are business and leadership strategy linked?  How do we “craft” leadership strategies to achieve superior performance?

I like to describe the relationship between leadership and business strategies like inter-woven strands of DNA that, together, link the performance potential of the organization and superior performance over time.

If the business strategy sets the direction for moving the organization from today’s competitive position to tomorrow’s enduring success; the leadership strategy is the human enabler of strategy execution.

So, lets take a quick look at the distinct elements of a comprehensive leadership strategy.

Element 1: Leadership Drivers of Business Strategies

What is absolutely essential for leaders of the organization to accomplish together in order to execute successfully its business strategy?

The starting point of a leadership strategy is to review the business strategies and identify the leadership competencies and capabilities that are needed to implement them. These are the leadership drivers that require strategic investment in order to lay the foundation of enduring organizational success.

Drivers are the levers that – if pulled – will catapult the business strategy forward. They are areas to prioritize and invest in to ensure the organization’s capability to execute the strategy. They are the essential factors that – with dedicated time, energy, and funds – will determine success.

Element 2: Leadership Culture

What type of culture is necessary for leaders to create in order to foster organizational success?

Leadership culture is the self-reinforcing web of individual and collective beliefs, practices, behaviors, and patterns in an organization. It is the way in which leaders interact, make decisions, and influence others in their efforts to create direction, alignment, and commitment. The leadership culture has a direct impact on your organization’s ability to achieve the business strategies you have set.

Element 3: Talent Systems

Are the organization’s current talent systems and leadership architecture aligned with desired organization competencies and leadership culture?

A leadership strategy must address the need to attract, retain, and develop the talented people – throughout the organization – who are critical to meeting the organization’s goals. It looks beyond the current business needs and sets into motion talent sustainability.

Element 4: Organizational Design

Do the organization’s structures, systems, and processes strengthen the ability for culture and leadership to evolve in support of business strategies?

Organizational design may strengthen or inhibit the ability of leadership to enact change, transform the organization, and achieve enduring performance potential. Structures, systems, and processes should be designed to serve strategy – not the other way around.

Read more:
White Paper:  Bridging the Performance / Strategy Gap: How leadership strategy drives business results
January 2014 book Release: Becoming a Strategic Leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success
Case study: Credicorp Group: Leadership Development Strategy: An Evolving Approach Linked to Business Performance.  
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About David Dinwoodie

David is based at the Colorado Springs Campus of the Center for Creative Leadership. He is Regional Director of Leadership Solutions for Latin America, a role in which he coordinates client discovery, program design, and faculty development for leadership training activities throughout the region. More from David can be found on his website, www.dinwoodiedavid.com/. He is a co-author of the book Becoming a Strategic Leader: Your Role in Your Organization’s Enduring Success, and he is a research associate on the Leadership Across Differences project. David serves as senior faculty for CCL’s Leading Strategically program, is a member of the Organizational Leadership Practices team and delivers custom leadership development solutions for corporate clients worldwide.
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4 Responses to What is leadership strategy all about?

  1. avatar Bhushan says:

    In order for any company to grow, it is important that a certain amount is earmarked for the development of its human capital.
    Training programs to ensure that the gap between university education and industry-specific requirements is adequately met, is imperative to extract one’s maximum potential. Companies around the world face unique challenges in terms of employability, based on the region and the target market.
    The Talent Enterprise, a company based out of Dubai, works closely with policy makers, employers and educational institutions, to get the best out of people. Their forte is their expertise. You may want to have a look at their website – http://www.thetalententerprise.com/

    • I absolutely agree that ongoing training is essential to support our talented people in making the journey from intelligent graduates to skilled managers to outstanding leaders. Organizations that are truly committed to attracting, developing, retaining and advancing the careers of their talented men and women view leadership development as a strategic investment that is crucial to enhancing the organizational capability to execute the business strategy and achieve the mission of the institution.

  2. Excellent!!!
    Its really helpful post.

    • Thanks! I am finding it very pertinent with clients – thinking through the components of a coherent leadership strategy seems to raise very interesting and important conversation amongst top leaders.
      Dr. Dinwoodie

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