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Get where you need to go: our Strategic Leadership Framework.

The difference between strategic and tactical behavior is simple, though they are often confused.​

  • Tactics deliver on specific short term goals.

  • Strategy builds a perpetual cycle of value creation.


Most leadership assessments focus on work style and skills, i.e., tactics.

These are critical to understand and develop.


First, however, leaders must be clear on the value creation principles they subscribe to:

  • whether the primary goal is long term learning or short term results, and

  • whether the solution is more likely to come from the wisdom of the leader or the team.

In this light, we've identified five basic leadership strategies.

Each has its time and place. But one is more effective than others in truly driving engagement and performance over the long term.

Learn about them.





The Leadership Strategy Framework.

A leadership strategy has two dimensions:

  1. What you see as the primary strategic goal:  that is, what achievement will lead to building value over time

  2. Where you believe results are likely to come from: by aligning around a solution determined at the top, or discovering one through the team's collective input. 

This leads to five basic strategies.

If you haven't already, we recommend taking our 5-minute Leadership Strategy Assessment first.

Once you've done that — or if you just can't wait — here's more detail on the five basic leadership strategies, and what you can do to optimize yours.


The Strategic Leadership Framework

(Too small, or want your own reference copy? Download as a PDF here.)


The Pathfinder

Forging the way into new territory 

You believe value creation is fundamentally about innovation, and that team learning needs to be funnelled by an experienced hand.


The value you bring as a leader is that of a great teacher: someone who has a clear understanding of what good learning looks like, and guides the team accordingly.


Your challenge: to further unlock the power of the team by making members more personally accountable for results, driving an engaging sense of individual impact.

Sweet spot: taking a proven product or service into a new market.


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The Coordinator

Getting things to run on time

You believe teams are structured as hierarchies for a reason. A team's prime directive is to deliver what the customer wants as efficiently as possible, which requires a strong hand at the tiller.


The value you bring to the table is speed: using your experience and expertise to keep the team focused.


Your challenge: to unlock the power of the team by making members more personally accountable for results, driving an engaging sense of individual impact, and to lean into the concept of value creation as a collective learning experience.

Sweet spot: established functions with proven processes, such as manufacturing.

The Coach

Aligning talent to deliver

You believe the prime directive of a team is to deliver results, which you shepherd by helping members learn how to implement effectively. The value you bring to the table: structure.


Your challenge is to ensure that innovation and the collective learning that drives it does not get lost in the mix, and that you leverage your own authority to keep the trains running on time.


Because teams need balanced leadership.

Sweet spot: sales and start-ups.

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The Supporter

Helping people develop and shine

You see value creation as the consequence of innovation, and aim to tap the power of your team by supporting their individual learning.


The value you bring to the table is unlocking collective discovery. You model "servant leadership" where your job is to support the team, rather than the other way round.


Your challenge: to ensure you are providing adequate structure around personal accountability for delivering results along the way, leaning into your leadership authority to keep the trains running on time without losing new ideas.

Sweet spot: professional services and creative teams.

The Guru

Helping everyone find balance 

The most effective leaders help their teams strike the right balance between execution and learning, and between finding solutions themselves and following the boss's lead.

The key to this leadership style is empathy: understanding others' perspectives, aspirations and limitations.


This starts with team members themselves, ensuring that they understand their accountabilities and have the supports they require to execute.

It also extends to other stakeholders: from senior leaders keen to ensure targets are met, to customers waiting on the team's deliverables, inside and outside of the organization.

Empathetic leadership does not mean going soft. No one likes missed deadlines. Uncertainty needs direction. The best support is firm.

Fundamentally it's about two things.


One is communication — making sure everyone knows what they need to do, has a sense of their own value and impact, and knows where to go for help.

The other is balance, between the need to get things done and the equally important need to develop know-how, both individual and collective, to ensure the long term viability of the team and the business.

Sweet spot: almost anywhere.

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Looking for tips on how to get from where you are to where you want to go — and to learn more about the skills you'll need to get there?

Get 30 minutes of coaching, on us.

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