The 3 types of transformational leaders in operations


Supply Chain Dive | March 20, 2018

The Supply Chain Dive article, “The 3 types of transformational leaders in operations,” featured the firm's research, “Putting the Horse before the Cart: Finding the Right Transformational Operations Leader,” and quoted Consultant Pascal Bécotte. The article is excerpted below.

Over the past few years, countless Fortune 50 organizations have undergone radical shifts in their operating strategy.

It could be Kraft-Heinz, looking to merge two of the largest food brands into a global behemoth. Or Kohl’s, rethinking how its stores fit into the modern retail strategy. Either way, today’s supply chains are facing extreme pressures to reinvent themselves.

But what does it take to lead a successful transformation?

Dogged by rising demands for the right-fit leader, and a request from a Fortune 50 company, global search and leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates sought out to answer this question.

At first, the firm was looking simply for traits to inform future searches — but what it found was a pattern. Great leaders fall neatly into three different types.

•The trusted cross-functional leader
•The engineer
•The outsider

The conclusions are based on Russell Reynolds Associates’ analysis of 50 recently-transformed consumer and industrial companies with $20 billion in revenue, the firm’s own previous search data, and a psychometric survey of more than 8,000 C-suite executives interpreted with the help of assessment firm Hogan.

The categories are detailed below and in the firm’s report, “Putting the Horse before the Cart: Finding the Right Transformational Operations Leader.


After analyzing thousands of executives’ psychometric data, Hogan and Russell Reynolds Associates found transformation most often succeeds with hires who break the traditional mold of leadership — those who exhibit what may at first seem as competitive traits, such as being both reluctant and risk-taking at once.


However, in an interview with Supply Chain Dive, Pascal Bécotte, head of the global operations & supply chain officers practice at Russell Reynolds Associates, warns not all transformations are the same.

While a company can start by looking for leaders with the above traits, an executive search for an IT transformation strategy is inherently different than a manufacturing footprint reorganization process. In addition, companies may face distinct personnel considerations based on how disruptive an initiative may be to a company culture.

In these cases, Russell Reynolds Associates found, identifying which of the three types of leaders a candidate is may help identify the best fit.

To read the full article, click here.

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The 3 types of transformational leaders in operations