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The Alchemy of Leadership Blog

4-Dimensional Leadership


When David Sole and I founded the School for CEOs back in 2011, we started out by looking at what a CEO or aspiring CEO needs to do well in order to be successful in the job.  We were informed by our own wide-ranging experiences in business and sport, and the invaluable advice of our distinguished Advisory Board.  Over time, we’ve refined our programmes with the benefit of the research we’ve carried out and the insights gained during the six two-day Vital Few programmes we’ve run to date.  Like the delegates, we learn an enormous amount from the accomplished Faculty who teach the programmes – and from the delegates themselves.

During this process we’ve developed our own 4-Dimensional Leadership™ (4DL™) approach.  This describes the skills needed when Managing Up, Down, Out and In.  Managing Up is about managing your boss (the Chairman + Board in the case of a CEO).  Managing Down covers your direct team and the broader organisation reporting to you.  Managing Out addresses the issues of dealing with external stakeholders such as the media and shareholders, and developing your personal brand.  Finally, Managing In is all about managing yourself, staying grounded amongst the ‘sturm und drang’ around you.

Over time, we’ve realised this simple yet powerful framework offers something for a broader audience than CEOs and members of the C-Suite.  It’s also very helpful for people at an earlier stage in their careers.  That’s why we now run a one-day programme, Runway, aimed at a wider range of people in businesses large and small.  Delegates complete a self-assessment questionnaire and create their own personal development plans.  The feedback tells us that 4DL works really well.  We ran the first Runway last year, with great success, and the next is later this month.  I’m looking forward to learning more from the next group of delegates.

© Patrick Macdonald 2015

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