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Adaptive Leadership Teams Share Five Winning Traits

In a Volatile Business Environment, Top Teams Must Be More Than High-Performing. To Win in the Marketplace, They Also Need to Adapt and Thrive, Regardless of the Turbulence They Face, Says a BCG Report

Most media coverage focuses on the role of the heroic leader in managing tremendous volatility and uncertainty—painting them with either a halo or horns. Rarely do observers consider the composition and adaptive capacity of the entire senior leadership team, not just one person. To consistently win in turbulent times, effective leaders carefully assemble highly adaptive leadership teams that shape not just react to their environment.

A new BCG study has found that these adaptive leadership teams have five surprising traits—the “special sauce,” so to speak—that strongly differentiate average from top-tier performers. Teams with these traits tend to outperform their industry peers. That is, in the exact same context, the more adaptive leadership teams find a way to consistently win in the marketplace.

The report from BCG’s Organization practice, titled Winning Practices of Adaptive Leadership Teams, studied nearly 100 executive members of senior leadership teams in a diverse sample of companies. The results showed that adaptive leadership teams share five traits: one voice, sense-and-respond capacity, information processing, freedom within a framework, and boundary fluidity. The study also found a strong correlation between these traits and the “basics” of effective teamwork, including distributed leadership, an optimal talent mix, a clear charter, and mutual trust. In addition, the study explored concrete best practices and approaches that CEOs use to heighten the adaptive capacity of their senior leadership teams, including numerous quotes from interviews of top executives.

“Traits like ‘one voice’ and ‘freedom within a framework’ are more than slogans with the most adaptive teams,” said Roselinde Torres, global head of BCG’s leadership practice and coauthor of the report. “They describe the essence of a leadership team’s adaptive capacity to influence an uncertain business context rather than just be a victim of volatility.” Concludes Nneka Rimmer, a partner and coauthor of the report: “Leaders who bolster their team’s collective performance in these critical areas achieve competitive advantages and generate greater financial returns compared with their industry peers.”

A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/get_adaptive_advantage_ebook/

About bcgperspectives.com
Bcgperspectives.com is a new website—available on PC, mobile phone, and iPad—that features the latest thinking from BCG experts as well as from CEOs, academics, and other leaders. It covers issues at the top of senior management’s agenda. It also provides unprecedented access to BCG’s extensive archive of thought leadership stretching back almost 50 years to the days of Bruce Henderson, the firm’s founder and one of the architects of modern management consulting. All of our content—including videos, podcasts, commentaries, and reports—can be accessed via PC, mobile, iPad, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 75 offices in 42 countries.

Jeudi 10 Mai 2012

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