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Unlocking the Future of Leadership

Posted by admin on January 16, 2013

Leaders need a new approach for a new world

Impronta has great pleasure in showcasing the thoughts and work of our intercultural coaches. Andra Morosi speaks fluent French and English, is a highly experienced Coach and extremely active in the International Coach Federation (ICF). We are very proud to be able to promote her within Impronta. Below is an article prompted by some recent work. Over to Andra

'I have recently come across a great piece of research that reinforced my beliefs about the compelling need to shift to a new form of leadership, a sustainable one. The only one that can match the evolution of organisations, society and the new balance of powers we are witnessing with the rise of “globalization 2.0” as some analysts call it.leadership.jpg

It also made me think of one of my coaching clients, a new leader and a pioneer whom I shall call John.

 According to Hay Group’s Leadership 2030 study published late last year, a new combination of skills and qualities are shaping up a “post-heroic” leadership style, one that needs rethinking old concepts such as loyalty or retention. The leader of the next decades needs to be equipped for the new business world order, ready for the new challenges at the cognitive, emotional and behavioural levels.

I started working with John three years ago when he was heading the Marketing and Sales team of the French subsidiary of a multinational organisation. Strong convictions, solid values and positive beliefs about the power of collaboration balanced his doubts about the new European matrix organisation structure, where new dotted lines alongside reporting lines seemed fuzzy to everyone. Moreover, some serious cultural stretching seemed necessary in order to liaise with the European leadership team and other peers in what he called “a true Babel environment” of more than 20 nationalities based in Switzerland. John’s team members no longer reported to him only, but also to their category managers at the European level. All told, this amounted to a new positioning that followed initial confusion and doubt,  leading to some deep reflection and serious work on how proactive to change he was and where he stood in the “us” and “them” dichotomy.

Year 1 – Change management & personal development

The following three areas were explored during the Coaching programme:

  1. Building emotional strength
  2. Accepting and dealing with ambiguity
  3. Sending positive messages to team members while preserving his integrity

Much to his surprise, at the end of the year John was offered the position of country manager, heading the French market unit and P&L within the new European organisation. A nice acknowledgement of his accomplishments but also a new challenge as he now had to fulfill 2 roles, head of Marketing and Sales as well as MD for France. This new dimension led to a new coaching contract and of course new and ambitious objectives for our second year.

 Year 2 – From Best Practices to New Practices

The key priorities in our work together over the following 12 months were as follows:

  1. Strategic positioning
  2. Dealing with complexity
  3. Developing influencing skills
  4. Enhancing his impact by defining and asserting his own leadership branding

John’s capacity to shift perspectives from specific operational detail to global wide angle view while observing situations and assessing the impact of his decisions on the whole organisation evolved considerably.

The coaching sessions led him to replace the notion of “best practices” by “new practices”, consolidate his vision, experiment with and validate new behaviours, develop consistency as well as clarity as to his next steps. His flexibility in terms of approach and behaviour was visibly enhanced, a rewarding process.

 Year 3 – Leading Organisational Change

The announcement of the group’s takeover by a multinational giant in the industry early last year brought our coaching relationship to a higher level as we focused our work together on:

  1. Succeeding in the transition period
  2. Keeping the local French teams motivated despite the instability of the context
  3. Modeling and using coaching skills to grow his people
  4. Developing cross-cultural teamwork
  5. Exploring perspectives of his future career pat

John became a true change leader within the broader organisation. He invested high energy in balancing, negotiating and shaping up the future, while highlighting and preserving what worked. He reached higher levels of cultural sensitivity through his integration efforts of leveraging the two corporate cultures, as well as integrating and adapting to the national cultures of his new colleagues at the European level.  His decisions were informed by consideration of more strategic priorities rather than operational or local challenges. A highly positive approach, authenticity and courage guided his actions as he initiated change forums that we prepared together during the sessions.

 How does this example illustrate the portrait of the new leader as depicted in the 2030 Leadership Research? It does so by simply highlighting the key conclusions that

 “Leaders of the future will need to be adept conceptual and strategic thinkers, have deep integrity and intellectual openness, find new ways to create loyalty, lead increasingly diverse and independent teams over which they may not always have direct authority, and relinquish their own power in favor of collaborative approaches inside and outside the organisation.”

These are the conclusions that Hay Group reached after identifying the 6 key megatrends that they believe will affect organisations and their leaders over the coming decades. “Collaboration – cross-generational, cross-functional and cross-company will be their watchword. They will also have to lead increasingly diverse teams.”

 For more information about Andra and her availability to coach in France or the UK, please write to info@impronta.co.uk or see her profile here: