As global business leaders seek to oversee and manage their large complex organizations, the paradigm for effective leadership is changing. Companies can no longer rely on single individuals at the top to handle the complexity and uncertainty of the global environment. At the same time, even a team at the top is not always best suited to address each and every situation. What’s needed instead is an agile, future-focused and intelligent “leadership ensemble” at the top. This report explains what leadership ensembles are, what makes them necessary, and the attributes that make them most successful.
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How do decisions get made at the top of global companies? Increasingly, the answer is through leadership ensembles, groups of leaders that flexibly configure themselves according to the type of decision that is needed. Just as a cellist takes on different roles depending on whether he or she is playing with a quartet, a chamber orchestra, or a full orchestra, so too with today’s leaders.
For example, a group of leaders may need to debate a controversial change in company direction, or draw on close relationships to quickly ratify a decision, or discuss a range of possible solutions to a problem.
Each activity requires a different ensemble configuration. An important guide to effective ensemble leadership is a company’s broadly defined operating model. To lead effectively, ensembles have to understand how they fit into—and shape—an operating model.
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