Build leadership capability to revive growth

September 17, 2020

Build leadership capability to revive growth

3 Minute Read

High performing leadership teams frequently audit their key competencies. We explain why it's important and how you can get started.

Kevin Joy
Kevin Joy, MBA

In times of crisis, leadership teams need to re-evaluate their capabilities to help improve the organization's fortunes and emerge from the crisis even stronger. But this must be framed in the context of the organization's desired strategy to ensure every step is effective in both implementation and outcome.

Even in normal times, growing companies face changing dynamics as they evolve. Organizations moving beyond their early stages to more mature and complex situations have several specific needs, including:

  • Greater trust of and accountability among leaders
  • Increased communications across the organization
  • More formal and structured processes
  • Distribution of innovation
  • Balance across leadership team to address complexity
  • Leadership team support to help the CEO drive growth

More than ever, leaders need to question how well equipped they are to address these needs and how best to shore up any gaps. And they need to do this in a measurable, repeatable way that can help drive progress over time. A leadership audit can provide many of these answers.

What gets measured gets done

Leadership audits benchmark the team's behavioural characteristics against those of successful growth companies. It reveals where leaders and the broader team are excelling and identifies key areas for improvement.

While there are several solutions available, we often find SuccessFinder is an excellent place to start. This psychometric tool measures 85 behavioural traits across 26 competency areas. In a Leadership Audit, tendencies are specifically measured against the six competency areas SuccessFinder has identified as critical through research of successful growth companies.

Below is a snapshot from the competency section of a leadership audit for a CEO and his eight-person team. It shows the leaders tend to exhibit these six key competencies.


Figure 1.  Key competencies for successful growth company leaders.

The checkmarks to the right of the chart indicate key competencies where the CEO exhibits high tendencies. In this case she does so in four of the six critical competency areas (>60 score), but she apparently doesn't initiate independently or seek innovation. The bar chart itself indicates the distribution of results across her team, with the dark blue bars indicating strong tendencies and grey bars revealing low tendencies.

A major concern would be that only one member of her team exhibits strong tendencies to seek innovation. This underscores the need to adopt measures that will build more organizational muscle memory around innovation.

The second part of the leadership audit shows the tendency of leaders to be involved in the key functional activities of the organization. Here the CEO seems to have a strong tendency in marketing and sales activities, but likely relies on other team members to regularly address some of the more internal activities. The broad representation of darker bars does reveal some good news, though. At least one or two leaders who scored highly would likely be able to support her in each area.

Figure 2.  Key functional capabilities for successful Growth company leaders

Adapting to the landscape

Through a combination of individual and collective test debriefings, leaders can use this self-awareness to work together more effectively and identify where gaps might exist. This is particularly useful in those areas where the CEO might need more support from the team. 

Organizations that prioritize the capabilities of their leadership teams will have a better chance to deliver on strategy and build the culture needed to successfully navigate times of crisis.

For more information about leadership audits or for help conducting one in your business, contact Kevin Joy, MBA, B.Eng, Partner and Business Advisor, at 514.891.8575 or [email protected]


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