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Results‐based leadership: an interview with Dave Ulrich

William Finnie (Strategy & Leadership contributing editor William Finnie, a managing director of Grace Advisors, Inc. in St Louis, MO (
Stewart Early (Stewart Early, principal of Stewart Early & Associates, LLC in Bethlehem, PA (

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 1 December 2002



Business leaders can add to their bottom line by being more attentive to “soft” organization factors, such as the commitment level of employees, the quality of leaders, and the linkage of both to obtaining results. Such “intangible” factors account for 50 percent of a company’s market value. Results‐based leadership is the key source of increasing this intangible value. The selection and development of leaders in the organization should begin with the question, “What is it we need to deliver for the company?” Next determine the behaviors the leaders need to deliver those results. Too many companies do the reverse. For example, a firm wants leaders who have a vision “so that” the company will be able to innovate products faster than competitors. Or, the business wants leaders who can build teams quickly “so that” the time from concept to commercialization of a product is 20 percent faster in two years. Four attributes of leadership are suggested: setting direction for where the organization is headed; demonstrating personal character; mobilizing individual employee commitment; engendering the organization’s capability (building systems). Linking these attributes to results, there are four steps offered that will help build results‐based leaders: believe that leadership matters; develop a leadership brand; assess leaders and find their gaps; invest in leadership. A four by four matrix tool is offered as an aid to promote the linkage between capabilities and results. Empowerment becomes easy when the four levers (information, competence, authority, and rewards) are taken across the four boundaries of every company (vertical, horizontal, external and global). A succinct example: most firms move authority vertically from top to bottom but fail when they keep information, competence and rewards at the top.



Finnie, W. and Early, S. (2002), "Results‐based leadership: an interview with Dave Ulrich", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 23-29.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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