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September 2017


Over the past five or so years I have been engaged in the delivery of executive development services related to Succession at an above-average level from prior years. So through reading/study, prior/present-day experience and observations, my corporate client engagements in this area of Succession (planning-management-readiness) have led me to some truths and concepts that have everything to do with the success of succession candidates and their organizations. In my world, the creation of concepts for solutions is very much an integral part of the value that clients receive from me. The following is about a concept that may at first look simple until given a second look if not a second thought…

Enterprise Value Leadership. The higher a leader ascends in an organization the more vital Enterprise Value Leadership is to the success and effectiveness of the leader (and the organization). EVL is the next level of leadership that is all about enhanced leader focus and behavior. Here is my first generation definition: Enterprise Value Leadership – Collaborative leader/leadership behaviors and attitudinal focus intended to contribute value to the enterprise’s highest and best interests inclusive of or irrespective of formal job descriptions and accountabilities.

EVL can appear to many leaders as a crazy-making demand. For goodness sakes, how about the leader who truly “owns” their part of the enterprise and its performance? They take their responsibilities appropriately personally. Their grasp of the organization is quite admirable. They live and breath it. They lead their leaders to perform and deliver with excellence. Team loyalty is built as clients/customers are served with excellence. They have even altered a portion of their behavior to make sure that their relational skills and strategies are emotionally intelligent relationships. And now there is a suggestion that this is somehow “not enough”? Yes. But only for those who would seek to become one of the organization’s top leaders.

The paradoxical piece to this is that the Enterprise Value Leader learns how to loosen their grasp of their own responsibilities/accountabilities in order to allow for broader enterprise-wide priorities. Although staying in their swim lane has so often been a strength, there are moments when the progressing executive must temporarily subordinate their area(s). Do you see how hard this can be?

Was with a highly talented group of senior leaders just a few weeks ago and we were talking about the EVL concept. This terrific Team gave the new concept serious thought as we explored together new vision related to this topic. We considered a bottom line coaching question: If the top of the organization needs to “picture” you as an authentic enterprise-wide executive in order to promote you to a top position, why make them speculate when you can begin to demonstrate EVL now?


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