Leadership & Talent Practice

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Leadership is the cornerstone of a high performing business.
Competitive differentiation occurs when senior executives align firm brand identity with leadership brand, employer brand, and a high performing culture. Aligning these elements is critical to sustainable business performance.
Alignment delivers re-investable profits for strategic growth, deeper customer intimacy as customers receive the desired experience at every touch point, and higher levels of employee engagement. All of this serves to improve investor confidence in future results.
Our approach starts from the outside-in: bridging the firm’s identity in the mind of customers and investors with the behavior of those inside to enable a high performing culture. We intend to do more than help companies create great leaders. We help them create a system of leadership that stands out amongst competitors and increases value to all stakeholders. We help organizations embed their Firm Brand Identity through their leaders and employees.

Leadership Consulting
Consulting engagements focus on broad business transformation challenges as well as on specific leadership brand capability improvement initiatives. For business transformation projects, senior executives charter marketing and HR design teams to ensure that the Firm Brand Identity is embedded at every customer touch point and that HR practices of selection, development, and reward are aligned to what employees should know, be, and do to serve customers. Leadership capability engagements ensure that leadership development efforts are worth the investment in time, money, and energy. This is done by integrating and optimizing the six elements of the Leadership Brand Architecture.
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Tailored and Custom Development Programs
We recognize that every organization is unique, so we offer standard and custom workshops to ensure that your leaders are learning the skills that are most needed to address existing leadership gaps and better build your brand. Combining our modularized content with your unique business needs ensures engaging and effective programs.
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Leadership Assessments
There are two kinds of assessments: individual and organizational. Individual leaders utilize our world-class behavioral and psychometric tools such as the Leadership Code 360 and MENTOR. The organization assessments audit a variety of issues related to building deeper organization capability. These tools and methods include auditing your leadership bench strength through a pipeline audit, auditing your leadership brand capability compared to our global, industry, and country norms and completing an intangibles audit or an organization capability audit. These audits are aimed at helping to assess and then take action on what really matters.
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What is Leadership?
By Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood
After years of wading through the concept clutter around leadership, here’s our four-part answer.

Improving Leadership Skills
We partnered with a client to design and deliver a leadership development program that resulted in more than 75% of participants improving in their selected focus areas and growing in their career stages.
Filling Key Management Roles
Using our assessments, analysis, and recommendations, one of our clients filled a new senior management layer with leaders whose personalities, experiences, and cognitive capabilities fit well with the role demands.
Translating Identity to Behaviors
We worked with a consumer goods company to create a leadership competency framework that translated the company’s mission statement into internal actions and processes and helped solidify a global identity.
Tell us about your challenges.
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Leadership Brand Architecture:
1. Case for building a leadership Brand
The business case is often skipped when a well-intended senior executive provides a budget to run leadership development programs. Without this business case, these investments are seldom sustainable. The business case answers a very simple question, “Why are we investing this money in leadership vs. other options?” The best business cases are concerned with the leadership implications of the growth strategy of the business.
Leadership Brand Architecture:
2. Agreement on what leaders must do
There are two levels of competencies that address what effective leaders do. 60-70% of leadership competencies are foundational and are common to any leader. Our book, The Leadership Code describes the 5 foundational leadership domains. The other 30-40% are unique leadership differentiating competencies and describe what leaders do to connect employees with customers/external stakeholders.
Leadership Brand Architecture:
3. Assess leaders and leadership
All leaders should have an Individual Development Plan (IDP) based on their progress around the foundational and differentiating competencies. In addition, leadership bench strength should be audited periodically to determine if leaders have the knowledge, skills and perspectives required for their role in the hierarchy. Bench strength gaps often become part of the business case.
Leadership Brand Architecture:
4. Invest in leadership
Investing in leadership is about bridging the gaps identified in the previous elements. The business case points to where investments will have the most impact. Individual and aggregate bench strength assessments uncover who is most in need of development and what are the greatest strengths, deficiencies and opportunities. Investments include training and development, job assignments, coaching and mentoring and aligned HR, Marketing, Financial and Operations practices.
Leadership Brand Architecture:
5. Measure Impact
Measures address whether or not there has been an impact for the investment. The best measures are based on the extent to which leadership investments have improved the business case. For example: Have we improved bench strength required for growth? Have we increased investor confidence in the quality of our leaders? Are we managing our wealth creating jobs to ensure a better experience for stakeholders?
Leadership Brand Architecture:
6. Ensure Reputation
Just like product brand and firm brand, leadership brand is about increasing brand awareness about the quality of your leadership. This requires that you communicate frequently about what and why we are investing in leadership and the results of the investment . To accomplish this, you must communicate to internal and external stakeholders in a variety of forums: in your annual report, at company meetings, on investor calls, at conferences and so on.