What makes for a successful leader?
This question along with the topic of leadership in general is a classic “verbal grenade”, with a vast array of theories, frameworks, concepts, types, definitions and personal experiences that make for fascinating debate.

To add a new perspective we commissioned some original research into the notion of Purpose in Leadership, the results of which break new ground by looking at leadership effectiveness through the lens of prominent leaders themselves, rather than the views of aspiring leaders on which traditional models are based, and how they define success and lead in the context of the environments they work in.

Research Results and Next Steps
As a result of our research, we found that those who lead with a sense of purpose have a guiding set of personal goals and objectives. They evoke passion and commitment and unify people to operate beyond their business objectives, which further facilitates business success.
The research has formed the basis of a unique Leadership Model, with an associated Leadership Assessment and Development Programme.

Leadership Assessment and Development Programme
The assessment tool is centred on three key themes:

– Defining a leader’s sense of Purpose
– Developing a leader’s key behaviours as defined by the research: Trust, Vision, Influence, Adaptability and Fortitude
– Understanding the context of the environment they work including identifying potential barriers or facilitators to success. This explores broad areas, including culture, autonomy, pressure, creativity, diversity and data quality.

Leadership with Purpose Diagram

The initial assessment shapes the programme, which is typically delivered over a 9-12 month period. Dependent on the results, appropriate development interventions will be agreed, these usually include a mix of coaching, mentoring and shadowing.

A second assessment following the intervention stage allows for real objective measurement of the programme’s effect and identifies opportunities for further progression.

The Leadership Development programme’s core purpose is to support businesses to develop their leaders’ leadership characteristics, as defined by the successful and highly effective senior executives that contributed to the research, and apply equally to an individual or a team senior leaders.

The programme has multiple applications including:

– Preparing individuals for executive roles or promotion to their first strategic mandate
– Supporting ‘ready-now’ succession planning
– Developing the ‘high potentials’
– Supporting the ongoing professional development of leaders already in position

Markers of success vary for each business application, collaboratively we identify how best to measure positive impact on the individual, their team and the wider organisation and track effectiveness.

Successful outcomes include:

– Developed communication, influence skills and stakeholder management skills
– Increased confidence, self-belief, gravitas and deep self-awareness
– Increased Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Collective Intelligence (CQ)
– Engaged, focussed and performing teams
– Retention of key talent
– Raised creativity and innovation
– Neutralised derailing behaviours

Case study 1: Developing High Potentials


Our client is a privately owned, Global B2B service provider in the midst of an enterprise wide transformation. As in all change programmes, workloads are stretched. No formal Leadership Development Programme exists outside the executive and individual
development historically is achieved through stretch assignments and mentoring by individual leaders who chose to do so.

The HiPo

One targeted individual was an effective and successful Senior Director of the Product and Technology function. After going through an assessment process for a significant promotion, it was apparent that although technically excellent and clearly ambitious, he needed to develop his soft skills to be effective in a more senior and strategic role.

To be perceived as a more capable executive, it was recognised that he needed to develop his presence and communication style, his gravitas and the tangible ability to influence key executive stakeholders.


Our ‘Purpose in Leadership’ assessment tool, provides the ideal framework to gain insight and feedback on how the subject’s current leadership skills were perceived by the executive, the VPs, his peers and team alike. Feedback is segmented into the key themes of individual purpose, key leadership behaviours and, importantly, the context of the environment they lead in.

A bespoke Leadership Development Programme was then created and delivered through a series of coaching, mentoring and shadowing sessions.


The bespoke programme gave him a new framework for his behaviours. A deep self-awareness resulted in him clearly understanding his sphere of control and gaining real confidence in his own leadership skills. Ultimately reinforcing his sense of purpose and understanding of his place within the organisation, which was reflected in his subsequent interactions with colleagues at all levels within the organisation. He has now also been promoted into a new role.

“I would definitely recommend to others as a great piece of personal development”.

Executive Sponsor feedback – Reflecting on the tangible impact that the programme had on the individual, the response was simply: ‘‘Night and Day’’.

Case study 2: Succession Planning


Our client is an independent, world renowned, multi-channel, information services business, under new ownership and in the latter stages of a major digital transformation.

Succession Planning example

Our candidate was a well-regarded business unit leader earmarked for promotion to Group level and ExCo. Whilst he was viewed as technically excellent and had a good reputation amongst his peers and some of the C-suite, his ability to influence and manage more senior stakeholders and the executive was self-limiting. Perceived as the ‘Tech guy’ his general style, communication skills, self-awareness and self-belief, were seen as barriers to him successfully making the transition to ExCo.


Our ‘Purpose in Leadership’ assessment tool, provided the framework to gain insight and feedback on how the subject’s current leadership skills were perceived by the executive, the VPs, his peers and team alike along the themes of: individual purpose, key leadership behaviours and, importantly, the context of the environment he was leading in.

A bespoke Leadership Development Programme was then delivered through a nine month 1:1 coaching engagement.


“To be given the time to step back and reflect was key to this process. Gaining the understanding of how my actions were perceived by others was the catalyst for a change in my approach and the programme helped me to magnify the lens on the areas that I needed to develop to become a better leader.” – Leadership Development Programme participant

To learn more about the Leadership Development Programme or the Leadership Research it is based on, please get in touch with Kate Bell or Chris Underwood.

An executive sponsor described the effect of the Leadership and Development Programme as

night & day