A Mix-and-Match Approach To Leadership

Susan Walker

Building the right leadership team is essential for business agility. With the complexity of the business environment these days, the composition and skill set of the leadership team leadership during a meetingare crucial factors in determining the level of agility in any organization.

One successful leadership method gaining momentum in global businesses is the ‘mix-and-match’ approach. Leading companies are mixing up their leadership teams — not just in terms of gender or nationality, but in terms of industry experience, skill sets, and perspectives.

A recent study on business agility by Accenture Strategy shows that leading companies are “mixing things up” in the boardroom almost twice as much as their laggard counterparts.

  • 41% of leading companies have recently introduced leadership members from other industries
    (only 20% of laggard companies have done the same)
  • 48% of leading businesses have changed the leadership team to incorporate a broader range of perspectives and skills (as opposed to only 25% of laggard businesses)

This research shows that having a dedicated leadership team with cross-cultural and cross-industry representation, plus a variety of skills, experience, and perspectives can create a successful, diverse, and agile business environment. Seeking leaders from outside of your industry also adds an effective variety of perspectives to the mix.

Some tips to ensure your leadership team has a diverse perspective:

  • Seek leaders from outside your industry
  • Involve relevant staff from across the organization in critical discussions
  • Pursue outside perspectives to avoid being in an echo chamber or a silo

The C-suite isn’t the only place focused on diversity. The study found that leading organizations actively build seasoned, diverse leadership teams across the organization. This ensures that executives and managers at all levels are fully accountable and have the right mix of competencies to help their teams handle diverse situations.

The study also found that senior leaders often come together in cross-functional teams to solve a variety of challenges. They increasingly mix up the cross-functional teams to get the global benefits of an international outlook and the diverse benefits of different perspectives and experiences.

Taking a ‘mix-and-match’ approach to leadership can increase your business value and agility through developing a variety of different perspectives and new business practices. This makes your business more agile, which leads to faster decision-making, more flexible operations, and more collaborative ventures.

Learn more about how your business can become more agile. Read 5 Things That Will Increase Your Business Agility and The Top 5 Business Agility Traits.

The above information is based on the Accenture Strategy study, “Traits of Truly Agile Businesses” – Copyright ©2014 Accenture. Accenture Strategy surveyed 1300 C-Suite and senior-level executives in 13 industries and 16 countries in mature and emerging markets about business agility.

For an in-depth look at the business and technology forces driving digital transformation, download the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

For more information on how the digital age is affecting business, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

Want more insight on effective management strategies? See 6 Managing Skills That Companies Take for Granted.


Susan Walker

About Susan Walker

Susan Walker leads SAP’s Global Strategic Technology and Global Strategic Services Partner Marketing organization. She is responsible for SAP’s alliance marketing vision, strategy and execution across the company, with a strong focus on leveraging and extending leading-edge innovation to enable customers to transform their businesses.