Is There Anything More than Leadership in Business Development Programs?

25 October, 2019

By Carlos Pérez Phagouapé, Development Systems (México)

At Development Systems our focus is on transforming clients’ business models. This covers a large number of strategic and tactical issues for companies of all sizes, the majority being multinationals. Today, I would like to discuss one in particular: internal development.

Over the years, organizational development issues have varied, evolved and resurfaced every now and then, to name a few: e-earning, detection of high potentials, focus on work environment, replacement matrix, coaching, etc. It’s nearly impossible that an HR Director or Consultant not be immersed in one of these projects throughout their career. But there is one challenge that companies deal with every day and it never goes out of style: finding and developing leaders within a company.

What is a leader?

There are many definitions of leadership, some rather theoretical, so we are going to explore what leadership means in practice. A leader is a person who has influence on the people he works with and develops ways to motivate his colleagues to achieve their objectives.

This would lead us to ask the following question: can a natural born leader be successful in any company or environment? There are a multiplicity of correct answers, but what we have observed over the years is that leaders are created by developing their abilities (skills, knowledge, personality, etc.) around the specific DNA of one company. In fact, leaders who perform the best, when changing companies, are those who adapt more quickly to the new environment. So is it true that there is a world of difference between a leader in Big Pharma, a leading bank or rather a start-up?

A Leader in Each Company

All companies have their own set of key competencies or those that define what their organization chart requires. Analyzing a small group of companies and the skills they seek, we find that leadership competencies are a top priority. If we zoom in on these competencies, we also find that they are by definition very similar among different companies, so: what differentiates a company and their leadership requirements? The answer can be found in a close examination of leadership behaviors. The difference from one company to another is shown in their orientation or proximity towards the following:


Leadership in a particular organization is based on that company’s DNA, or strategic framework, its mission, vision and values. In other words, the reason why that company exists, where it wants to be and what attributes it must possess to reach its goals. Each company follows its own dreams, interpreting the needs of its customers in a different way and therefore requires tailored leaders. Ideally figures who do not seek to impose their ideas, but to understand their specific company’s needs and how to support colleagues in order to achieve their objectives.

Do companies create leaders or are leaders born that way?

It is true that people are born with innate abilities, but anyone can develop leadership skills. It’s difficult to find an individual who completely lacks leadership abilities, however we find many leaders who influence others a lot, but they motivate little and vice versa. Most important is to match the right profile to a specific company’s needs.

The most requested leadership skills today are:
– to communicate clearly
– to be organized
– to adapt to changing conditions
– to be able to interact with others
– to have a clear vision of where their team is and where it has to be in the future.
– to set priorities and, to the contrary, to decide what is not a priority at any given time.
– In short, a good leader models the future within his or her environment.

Answering our initial question

Is there anything more than leadership in business development programs? Of course, yes (this would make an interesting starting point for another discussion), but few issues are more important than identifying leadership and developing them to reach their full potential.

If a leader can model the future then a company continously improves, making leadership the cornerstone on which the architecture of a successful company is built.

Share article: