Do You Have What it Takes to Perform?
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Many of today’s corporate leaders have been grooming for executive positions for a few decades. They’ve developed strength in business acumen, depth and breadth of skillsets and firsthand experience in finding and building teams. And they are likely seasoned at crafting and executing against 3-5 year business plans.

And their HR counterparts have likewise likely built out executive development programs to support them in managing the business and all of its’ complexities.

But today’s top brass will not succeed with strength of experience alone. In order to competently and confidently make timely high-risk decisions that drive business performance, their jobs—like high-wire performers—require that they are not just strong, but that they have the behavioral leadership performance competencies that empower them to also be extremely agile.

Here’s why: today’s business environment includes three dimensions of change that make it like the perfect storm of leadership challenges:

  • We’ve transitioned from a information age to a digital age, in a very rapid leap.

    Context from inside the business, across the competitive market and from partners and customers is exploding across multiple digital channels—and likely changing—all day, every day. Five year plans and even weekly Monday morning “war room” business briefings are woefully inadequate: too little, too late to facilitate nimble change ahead of, or at the very least, in sync with market change.

  • Technology is changing the game and the bottom line.

    Tech-savvy organizations from banking to aerospace to healthcare to manufacturing are driving exponential competitive advantage through technology insights and efficiencies. These, in turn, drive value for business-building innovation and deliver bottom line operating cost improvements. Think your tech investments and leverage are “good enough?” Your competitors might be the only ones thanking you

  • Globalization has many impacts.

    Whether your business relies on a supply chain or a digital network of partners, our very interconnectedness makes businesses both more powerful and more vulnerable to a wide swath of economic, political, and environmental factors.

The risks and rewards in this environment of volatility, uncertainly, complexity and ambiguity —or VUCA as the military has named it— are mounting.

I’ve been a strategy execution counselor for four decades. I help businesses determine how to deliver on their go-to-market and operational plans and help them identify who will be the right senior leaders —from board members and CEOs to functional leaders across the business— to help them do it well. I use SuccessFinder to help me isolate and prioritize the best and most current competencies for each senior level role, then identify the best candidates for those roles.


Do Your Leaders STILL Have What it Takes?

Here is the rub: the behavioral leadership performance competencies required for success are changing, just as the business environment is changing. So an internal leader, who has been groomed for an executive spot over a number of years, might actually NOT be the best choice for succession when the time comes. If they have great experience but lack the behavioral leadership performance competencies to prove their ability to successfully manage high-change, high-risk decision-making and bring along the right group of individuals to support those changes, they might be in the right place at the right time, but be the wrong person for the role.

Experience matters, but behavioral performance leadership competencies that deliver business performance matter more.

Today’s business leaders need agility, balance and focus amidst chaotic conditions to thrive.


The Top Eight  “Agile” Behavioral Performance Competencies of Today’s High Performing Leaders

To help me counsel my clients on the best candidates for their current key roles, I turn to scientifically-proven insights from SuccessFinder. They track the changing set of “must have” behavioral leadership performance competencies exhibited by current high-achieving leaders. These competencies power business agility.

Here are the top eight most important behavioral leadership performance competencies relevant for today’s business reality, success and survival.
The first five are of greatest importance for today’s business environment. 

  1. Demonstrates a strong and forceful inspiring entrepreneurial leadership style and readiness to directly influence others (Motivational)
  1. Seeks profitable and personal wealth with a keen sense of risk-taking in to achieve organizational and personal financial success (Productivity)
  2. Leverages opportunities to persuasively influence others through a socially impactful image (Relationships) 
  1. Demonstrates intense imaginative insight to identify wise but innovative solutions (Innovation)
  1. Is responsive and open-minded in unpredictable times with a willingness to adapt to rapid change (Innovation)
  1. Makes personal sacrifices and expends extraordinary dedication and work ethic (Motivational)
  2. Commits to an enthusiastic, face-paced life and being excited and passionate about one’s work (Motivational)
  1. Enthusiastically staying on top of seemly chaotic demands and overlapping priorities requiring multi-tasking and a high level of stamina (Productivity)

If these behavioral leadership performance competences aren’t in your hiring and succession plan priorities, and your HR teams’ development programs, you should be taking a second look to see if you are agile enough to keep pace in a VUCA world.

Have questions or ideas to share on your leadership strategy? I’d like to hear from you!


About the author: About the author: Paul Frederick is CEO of Frederick & Associates, a strategy execution and leadership development firm serving global for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations. Paul is a seasoned SuccessFinder certified practitioner and partner and former Global EVP of HR and Holistic Business Transformation Management at a global travel and financial services firm where he played a pivotal role in executive leadership development during the highly volatile formation of the EU and introduction of the Euro. He can be reached at