The nature of business requires today's leaders to acquire knowledge of the company’s business structure and develop a deeper understanding of business issues. Increasingly, senior leaders are engaged in transacting business and interacting with stakeholders across the globe, they have direct or matrix reporting relationships which spread across the organization, necessitating change in leadership style based on the situation.
In addition, expanding the network of professional contacts, increased openness, flexibility and reduced ethnocentrism are key to success in the global work environment. Leaders would do well to consider developing or enhancing some of these key competencies in the areas of business management, organizational leadership, learning and interpersonal skills to succeed in this ever changing environment.


  • Alliances & Collaboration

  • Cross-Cultural, Open & Flexible

  • Conflict Management

  • Influencing & Negotiation


  • Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • Thinking & Learning Agility

  • Knowledge Sharing

  • Change Agentry


  • Business Savvy

  • Organizational Savvy

  • Stakeholder Orientation

  • Managing Uncertainty & Risk



The Interpersonal & Managerial pillar emphasizes competencies which focus on the ability to effectively work with others and help others work with each other.  It is important for the leader to recognize that differences exist between team members being led.  However, the art of being an effective executive lies in the ability to help their team recognize the larger goals of the organization and stay focused on those, even as they face cultural and communication differences. Mastery of these competencies provides an executive with the ability to produce desired results and work within an innovative and productive organization.  

In summary, these competencies enable executives to effectively lead people across differences and conflict towards a commitment to working in groups, sharing knowledge to maximize innovation and productivity, and focusing on the collective goals of the organization rather than individual or departmental interests.   


The Innovation & Learning pillar focuses on understanding how to improve the operational activities of a business through continuous learning. Talent development, infiltration of new ideas as well as the sharing of information and knowledge across all layers of an organization all form part of this learning experience. Excelling at these competencies is a step towards a more innovative and productive workforce. 

The innovation and learning competencies provide executives with the understanding that organizations need innovative, entrepreneurial ideas that allow them to stay ahead of their competitors. Executives should focus on constantly growing their knowledge base in order to lead their organization into a future that solves problems with new ideas as well as leading an organization towards improved productivity and market performance.


The Business & Organization pillar emphasizes the competencies which influence a leader’s ability to manage the business side of an organization. These competencies require leaders to have an understanding of: the communications and documents used to make business decisions; the stakeholders who influence and direct decisions made within an organization; and the ability to effectively manage the risks associated with delivery of any project.  Leaders who excel in these competencies effectively incorporate the business priorities into their leadership.  

The business and organization competencies also influence how a leader is perceived by direct reports, peers, and leaders within the organization, particularly when it comes to leading a function or organization.  These competencies provide an understanding of the operational activities of an organization and the important processes and stakeholders which guide and direct an organization.

+ Alliances and Collaboration

The ability to foster relationships with a network of supporters and collaborators who influence the desired path forward and decisions made. This competency focuses on working across groups instead of silos in order to improve an Executive’s effectiveness as well as that of the larger collective group.

+ Cross-Cultural, Open and Flexible

The ability to embrace, understand, and accept cultural differences of team members, peers, and management. Additionally, this competency requires that executives openly encourage dialogue across cultures despite challenges of language, distance, norms, and communication styles. When this competency is mastered, leaders can guide their organizations towards a more open and sharing culture that can improve overall innovation and productivity.

+ Conflict Management

The ability to comfortably operate and succeed despite differences that invariably occur within groups. Executives who master this competency can navigate the minefields of conflict within groups by focusing on facts instead of perception and lead groups towards operating in the best interest of the collective versus personal or individual departmental interests.

+ Influencing and Negotiation

Requires an executive to effectively produce results for an organization. Leaders who excel in this competency are skilled at working with others and helping their team to utilize the entire breadth and depth of the organization’s capabilities to produce desired results. Listening is the critical skill for this competency, allowing the executive to be fully engaged with others and ensuring that the focus is on accomplishing the goals set for the organization.

+ Entrepreneurial Spirit

The capability of an executive to constantly seek change, question the status quo, drive innovation, and convert ideas to profitability for an organization. The leader skilled in this competency encourages input from all levels of the organization and seeks out new ideas to stay ahead of existing and new competition.

+ Thinking and Learning Agility

The commitment to growing one’s knowledge every day. As a critical skill for all executives, this competency requires leaders to stay current on new technologies, processes, and ways of doing business in order to avoid outdated or obsolete activities. The skilled executive in this competency is adaptable and can provide innovative and creative solutions to problems in order to advance the productivity and market positioning of an organization.

+ Knowledge Sharing

The active process of free flowing communication across all levels of the organization. This is an important competency to both encourage team members and direct reports to share their knowledge with others. Additionally, the leaders should excel at proactively participating in sharing one’s knowledge to grow future leaders of the organization. When knowledge is not shared, organizations can stagnate. In order to facilitate knowledge sharing, executives should encourage middle and senior managers to mentor junior members of the organization; this promotes tacit knowledge sharing and innovation across the organization.

+ Change Agentry

Leading change in an organization can be challenging, especially as it will likely be met with resistance. It is helpful to learn more about all relevant areas of the organization. This way the leader can determine how all functions may work together more effectively to deliver the product or service to the marketplace. The executive that excels at this competency provides a fresh and innovative perspective to identify where processes or operational activities can be improved to better deliver the product or service to the customers.

+ Business Savvy

The ability to understand the financial and strategic direction of an organization through communications such as business results or financial documents such as quarterly results, and balance sheets. These communications and financial documents determine the direction of a company. Therefore, the fluency level in this competency exposes a leader’s comfort or discomfort with the financial instruments which guide business decisions. Leaders can improve their competency by engaging with leaders in the strategy & finance groups in order to develop basic financial literacy and enhance their understanding of the organization.

+ Organizational Savvy

The ability to understand how the organization operates and how decisions are made within the organization. Furthermore, leaders need to leverage their internal organizational network of mentors and sponsors to influence decisions made that impact the organization. This competency relies on the leader’s ability to gain respect across the organization. Leaders who do not have the respect or support of mentors and sponsors face the potential of stunted results and delayed career progression.

+ Stakeholder Orientation

Involves knowing the stakeholders who influence the organisation's decisions, understanding the stakeholders’ priorities, the conflicts across stakeholder groups, and how those conflicts impact the leader’s organization. The leader must know how their role and their projects impact the priorities of the stakeholder groups and ensure their role and projects remain relevant and necessary to accomplish the goals of the business. Leaders should focus on constant communication with stakeholders and help stakeholders appreciate the priorities of all vested groups as it relates to the projects being pursued.

+ Managing Uncertainty and Risks

The ability to deftly deal with unexpected situations and mitigate risks of achieving organizational objectives. It is important to anticipate the vulnerabilities of a project and effectively manage the timeline for execution and delivery. To improve one’s abilities in this competency, a leader should complete project management courses or seek a project management certification such as the PMP.



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Owner's Mindset

Everyone is exploring what we can learn from startups. How can we innovate, become a more agile company? If you speak to a startup, they will tell you they have the same challenges as you - finding good talent. The talent they get is mediocre, so then how do startups succeed?

At the root of success of startups is the Founder. It's really the founder who drives the agenda! Founders bring energy, focus, clarity, speed, adaptability, open-mindedness, vitality, and customer devotion. This energy drives the successful startup more than anything else. That is why many VC’s invest in the team first, and business plan later.

That is why I should behave like this is my company. I am completely responsible for anything which goes wrong. A lot of people operate as if - this is that person’s job, that is literally the root cause of slow progress in corporations.

One should feel personal responsibility and emotional engagement.


The five traits of Owner's mindset

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Owners are Nonconformist

  • Tackle the Impossible - owners are not limited by what is possible, there is no limit to what can be achieved

  • Constant Turbulence - steady state is a bad idea, there is no concept of settling down time. Just do it, and then move to what next?

  • Relentless Experimentation - What else can we try to improve? What else can we disprove?

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Owners are Frontline Focused

  • Usually the customer facing employees create the most value for the customer, owners ensure they are happy. It always starts at the bottom and stops at the top

  • Owners frequently reach out and listen to the lowest level employee, understand and trust their perspective, empower and enable them, don't rely on filtered information

  • Examine every activity we do. If the activity does not help the customer or frontline employees, the work, in all probability, is a waste of the owner’s time


Owners are Obsessed with detail

  • Every small thing matters to owners, they obsess with detail, specially anything which the customer will experience

  • They like being in the driving seat, holding the wheel. They feel that the moment they look away, accidents happen

  • Keep constant pulse of the organization - talk to people, question, do not get bogged down by hierarchy


Owners Have Bold Ambitions

  • They always focus on creating newer and greater value for people, customers, and stakeholders

  • If they catch themselves doing something which does not create value, they abandon it

  • They do not focus on incremental thinking, they have a "10X Mindset"

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Owners Keep Moving Forward

  • Owners cannot stand loss of momentum, or anyone stalling progress

  • They despise organizational politics, lack of progress due to turf issues, silo thinking, or personal agendas

  • They have a bias for action - inaction is not acceptable to them


Progression from Manager to Business Leader

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Managers rely on invention and leaders are eager to reinvent. For many managers a career move necessitates progression to a Business Leader, but the shift should be self initiated - start with a mental upgrade, and the role change will follow.


The Manager role tends to be more tactical, focused on delivery, execution, managing team productivity, retention etc. The shift to a business leader role involves learning new skills, cultivating new mindsets, and changes in leadership focus.


Nothing happens without a plan, specially a change which requires shift at multiple levels. Ensure everything on the plan is connected back to the goals and has a direct business purpose, anything added which does not connect back to a goal tends to eventually fall off the list.

  1. Implement to Enable: Shift focus from just your team’s performance to what would benefit your company as a whole – solve complex organizational problems.

  2. Tactical to Strategic: Transcend from just implementing organizational strategy which impacts your direct function to looking at the larger picture. However, maintain the ability to smoothly dive into the details.

  3. Internal to External: From inward and downward focus to outward and upward focus. Engage your key stakeholders and customers.

  4. Command to Influence: Transition from managing by building circles of power to creating circles of influence. Inspire and mobilize others towards a shared goal.

  5. Arrange to Structure: Finally, transition from alignment of roles and responsibilities to systems, structure, models and design thinking - steps for a business leader to draw the map of the future.

Constantly expand your horizon to understand your company’s purpose, direction, key drivers, be conversant with all aspects of the business, ensure results, keeping a long-range perspective.