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Dave Ulrich

Professor/advisor at RBL Group/University of Michigan

Alpine, United States

33426 Followers

Ranked as the #1 management guru by Business Week, profiled by Fast Company as one of the world’s top 10 creative people in business, a top 5 coach in Forbes, and recognized on Thinkers50 as one of the world’s leading business thinkers, Dave Ulrich has a passion for ideas with impact. In his writing, teaching, and consulting, he continually seeks new ideas that tackle some of the world’s thorniest and longest standing challenges.

His bestselling books and popular speeches shape the corporate agenda. Dave has written 30 books and over 200 articles that have shaped three fields:

He has influenced thinking about organizations by defining organizations as bundles of
capabilities (Organization Capability) and worked to delineate capabilities of learning
(Learning Organization Capability), collaboration (Boundaryless Organization), talent management (Why of Work), and culture change (GE Workout).

He has articulated the basics of effective leadership (Leadership Code), connected leadership with customers (Leadership Brand), and synthesized ways to ensure that leadership aspirations turn into actions (Leadership Sustainability). Dave’s current work on Leadership Capital Index (published by Berrett Koehler in September 2015) creates a “Moody’s index” for leadership. This work examines leadership through the eyes of investors and helps realize the market value of leadership, thus bringing the fields of firm valuation and leadership together.

He has shaped the HR profession and been called the “father of modern HR” and “HR thought leader of the decade” by focusing on HR outcomes, governance, competencies, and practices (HR Champions; HR Value Added; HR Transformation; HR Competencies; HR Outside In). He spearheaded a “gift” book on the future of HR (The Rise of HR, distributed to over 1,000,000 HR professionals), in which 70 thought leaders freely share their insights.

Dave UlrichPoints
Academic10
Author681
Influencer334
Speaker0
Entrepreneur40
Total1065

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Company

Areas of Expertise

Innovation 30.46
Management 93.15
Leadership 52.57
HR 68.97
Digital Disruption 30.09
Culture 30.26
Change Management 43.31
Future of Work 30.24
Mergers & Acquisitions 30.27

Industry Experience

Publications

1 Academic Award
The RBL Group’s Dave Ulrich Inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame
Thinkers50
November 01, 2017
We are pleased to announce that Dave Ulrich, Co-Founder & Partner of The Results Based Leadership (RBL) Group and Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the University of Michigan, has been inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame. Thinkers50, a globally respected organization that ranks and shares leading management thinkers, recognizes Dave and his fellow inductees as individuals who have made a lasting and vital impact on how organizations are led and managed.

Dave’s body of work includes co-authoring over 30 books and 200 articles which have shaped the fields of leadership to deliver results, of organization to build capabilities, and of human resources to create value. Dave has a passion for ideas with impact and in his writing, teaching, and consulting, he continually seeks new ideas that tackle some of the world’s thorniest and longest-standing challenges. He is considered the “Father of Modern HR’ and has been ranked as the “#1 Management Guru” by Business Week. He co-directs the Advanced HR Executive Program (AHREP) at the University of Michigan.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

18 Article/Blogs
Leadership Soft Skills Required for Business and Personal Success
linkedin
July 30, 2019
We often get asked, “What skills are required to succeed in the new world of work?”

Business leaders want employees with the skills to deliver results. HR leaders work to hire, train, and pay for the right skills. And perhaps most importantly, employees at all levels wonder what they should learn, know, and do to improve their personal career opportunities.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

What Is Your Point-of-View About What’s Next for HR?
linkedin
July 16, 2019
When I teach, write, consult, or coach, I am increasingly aware that my primary role in these opportunities is to help others create their point-of-view. I ask, “How can what I know help them further shape what they know, do, and feel?” To help someone develop their point-of-view, I need to be clear (and relatively succinct) about my point-of-view on a topic.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

Establishing an Organization Guidance System
linkedin
July 02, 2019
by Dave Ulrich (dou@umich.ed), Co-founder - The RBL Group, Norm Smallwood (nsmallwood@rbl.net), Co-founder - The RBL Group and Alan Todd (atodd@corpu.com), Founder - CorpU

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Tags: Leadership, HR

What’s Your Experience with Employee Experience?
linkedin
June 18, 2019
Decades ago, I was drawn into the then-emerging field of “organizational behavior” because I was enthralled with how organizations shaped people’s lives. I bought into my mentor’s mantra, “organizations don’t think—people do” (JB Ritchie). Over the ensuing years, my passion for shaping organizations that deliver value to employees inside (and customers, investors, and communities outside) has only grown. With so many others, I have been committed to helping evolve the agendas of both the individual competence (talent, skills, workforce) and organization capability (culture, systems, workplace).

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Tags: HR, Future of Work

Focus on the Right Culture in Mergers and Acquisitions
linkedin
June 04, 2019
In today’s world of technological, demographic, global, consumer, and competitive change, managing culture is increasingly central to business success. And yet, in many decades of research, consulting, and executive teaching, my colleagues and I have rarely found that companies know how to design and implement the “right” organization culture—one that focuses on the requirements of the competitive market place, including ever-changing customer demands.

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Tags: Innovation, Culture, Mergers & Acquisitions

From Workforce to Worktask Planning
linkedin
March 12, 2019
Everyone realizes that better talent (and culture) will help an organization succeed. Over the years, many have attempted to improve talent—this effort is loosely called workforce planning.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

Effectiveness Audit for Your HR Department
linkedin
February 26, 2019
For the last 30 years, HR transformation centered around a simple theme: HR is not about HR but about delivering value for employees, customers, and investors. Many who focus on HR transformation (also called disruption, re-imagination, renewal, or the latest term) almost exclusively emphasize how to organize the HR department. We believe that upgrading the HR department goes far beyond HR design.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

Digital HR: What Is It and What’s Next?
linkedin
February 12, 2019
No one doubts that technology has changed our lives. Global online sales have doubled in five years to over $1.5 trillion. The big six social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest) exceed a total membership of 2.4 billion people. If it constituted a country, Facebook—the most popular social media platform—would be the second most populous country on the planet, after China. Technology pervades our daily lives in how we use computers, communicate, access entertainment, drive, shop, form relationships, and so forth. Unprecedented and fast innovation in technology provides digital information that increases and enables customization, underpins predictive analytics, and redefines boundaries.

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Tags: Innovation, HR

HR's Vital Role as Caregivers
linkedin
January 29, 2019
Caregiving, the act of regularly looking out for the welfare of others, matters more than ever in today’s volatile world.

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Tags: HR

What Is the Most Important Contribution HR Delivers to Employees?
linkedin
January 15, 2019
Recently, a group of thoughtful senior HR folks were discussing what HR could offer employees to increase the employees’ well-being at work. They discussed experience and research-based answers: autonomy to make decisions, relationships that nurture, visions and purposes that create meaning, opportunities to learn and grow to become better, leaders who inspire, and so forth.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

3 Principles of Hope That Enable Transitions
linkedin
December 31, 2018
As a calendar year ends and begins, it is an opportunity for transition. Transitions allow for reflection and renewal, for letting go and beginning anew, and for learning from the past and creating the future.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

What Do Thought Leaders Think?
linkedin
December 18, 2018
How do thought leaders think about management, innovation, corporations, turbulent times, discontinuity, effective executives, and managing for the future? (Note: All these terms are from titles of Peter Drucker’s magnificent books). In this essay, italicized text indicates book titles or quotes from Peter Drucker.

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Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

Leadership Distraction: An Under-Used Tool for a Transparent World
linkedin
December 04, 2018
No one can hide from the transparency in today’s world where personal and organizational actions inevitably gain public scrutiny. Leaders who learn to appropriately distract may find a path through these transparency landmines.

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Tags: Leadership

Personal Essay on Gratitude
linkedin
November 20, 2018
As the American Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I use it as an excuse to reflect on gratitude in my life. This is a more personal essay—hopefully with both leadership and personal implications—but written more to my family and myself.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

Learning Innovations in a Disruptive Workplace
linkedin
November 06, 2018
Learning matters more than ever in today’s volatile, changing, uncertain business world —and this has major impact for learning and development (L&D) specialists. With the increasing pace of social, technological, economic, political, environmental, and demographic changes, organizations and individuals have to disrupt (drastically change) themselves to stay current. Over our thirty-year study of HR competencies, my colleagues and I find that approximately 30 to 40 percent new competencies emerge every four or five years; in my personal training, I seek about 20 to 25 percent new material every two years to respond to the pace of change.

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Tags: Digital Disruption, Innovation, Leadership, HR

How Do HR Professionals Influence Others?
linkedin
October 23, 2018
Written in collaboration with Erin Burns.

When we ask seasoned HR professionals about their greatest challenges in having an impact, they answer that having quality ideas is less demanding than knowing how to influence to implement the ideas. Good ideas can be acquired through training, attending conferences, performing analytics, reading latest theory and research, observing best practices, and experimenting. But turning good ideas into sustainable impact requires the ability to influence. We have found that ideas with IMPACT is an ever more important topic.

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Tags: Leadership, HR

Purpose, Values, Brand, and Culture: Gobbledygook or Great Insights?
linkedin
June 05, 2018
My father was a mid-level government manager. I recall that when he would return from well-intended off-sites designed to shape the future, he would often be cynical about the erudite discussion that had little real impact. Gobbledygook, he would suggest. So when I got into the field of delivering these off-sites, he continually reminded (challenged, ahem) me to keep things simple, focused, and actionable.

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Tags: Culture

Culture Is Not Enough…Get The Right Culture
linkedin
May 23, 2017
A few years ago in Europe, I asked a group of business leaders if they had the right culture. Someone responded that their company had purchased tickets to the opera. Today, the issue of culture is no longer a joke or afterthought; it is central to business success. Peter Drucker is attributed to have said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” Culture was the word of the year for Merriam Webster dictionary in 2014 and has been the cover and regular stories in Harvard Business Review, the subject of hundreds of corporate off sites, and a key outcome of HR work.

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Tags: Culture

13 Books
Victory Through Organization: Why the War for Talent is Failing Your Company and What You Can Do About It
McGraw-Hill Education
April 05, 2017
The next step in HR’s creation of value?turning the war for talent into victory through organization.

“HR is not about HR. HR begins and ends with the business.”

The RBL Group and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan have shaped much of the HR profession for 30 years through the Human Resource Competency Study (HRCS). With this latest (7th) round of research, Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Mike Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank call for us to pivot from fighting the “war for talent”?to creating victory through organization.

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Tags: HR

The Leadership Capital Index: Realizing the Market Value of Leadership
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
October 19, 2015
When it comes to evaluating a firm, leadership matters.

We know that financial outcomes can predict about 50 percent of a firm’s market value. Intangibles like strategy, brand, talent, R&D, innovation, risk, and so on account for the rest. But leadership underlies them all. And despite how important we know it is, we’ve been forced to rely on subjective and unreliable ways to measure its impact—until now.

In this landmark book, leadership scholar, author, and consultant Dave Ulrich proposes a “leadership capital index”—a Moody’s or Standard and Poor’s rating for leadership. Drawing on research from investors and business leaders, and synthesizing the work of dozens of consulting firms and leadership experts, Ulrich analyzes two broad domains, each comprising five factors. The individual domain includes personal qualities, strategic prowess, execution proficiency, interpersonal skills, and fit between the leader’s style and the organization’s market promises. The organizational domain encompasses a leader’s ability to create customer-focused cultures, manage talent, demand accountability, use information to gain competitive advantage, and set up work processes to deal with change.

Ulrich details rigorous metrics and methods for evaluating leaders on each of these factors. The result is a groundbreaking book that will be of vital interest not only to equity and debt investors but also to boards of directors, executive teams, human resource and leadership development professionals, government and ratings agencies—and of course to leaders themselves.

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Tags: Leadership

The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders
HR Certification Institute
May 06, 2015
More than ever, leaders of nearly every kind of organization view their human resources teams as essential to institutional well-being and long-term growth and sustainability. That’s the central and animating theme of “The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders,” a new anthology published by the HR Certification Institute in collaboration with Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor of Business, University of Michigan and Partner and Co-founder of The RBL Group, Bill Schiemann, CEO, Metrus Group, Inc. and Libby Sartain, Business Advisor, Board Member and Volunteer.

In the eBook, the essayists address how increasing numbers of HR professionals are – and should be – the principal stewards of their organizations’ talent by recruiting and cultivating workers with competence and motivation to perform well, by building and maintaining a consistent, lasting and unique culture that enables the organization to thrive and leadership to support the acquisition of skills for meeting short-run goals and delivering long-run stability and growth.

Collectively, the essays describe how HR practitioners must live up to and even extend expectations of their profession’s growing and evolving role. They focus on how HR professionals and the tools they use must adapt to shifts in demographics and the impacts of technology on the workplace.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

The Change Champion's Field Guide: Strategies and Tools for Leading Change in Your Organization 2nd Edition
Pfeiffer
July 22, 2013
Nearly a decade later, leading change pioneers in the field have realigned to bring you the second edition of the Change Champion's Fieldguide.

This thoroughly revised and updated edition of the Change Champion's Field Guide is filled with the information, tools, and strategies needed to implement a best practice change or leadership development initiative where everyone wins. In forty-five chapters, the guide's contributors, widely acknowledged as the "change champions" and leaders in the fields of organizational change and leadership development, explore the competencies and practices that define an effective change leader. Change Champions such as Harrison Owen, Edgar Schein, Marv Weisbord, Sandra Janoff, Mary Eggers, William Rothwell, Dave Ulrich, Marshall Goldsmith, Judith Katz, Peter Koestenbaum, Dick Axelrod, David Cooperrider, and scores of others provide their sage advice, practical applications, and examples of change methods that work.

Change Champion's Field Guide examines the topic of leadership and change within four main topics including:

Key elements of leading successful and results-driven change
Tools, models, instruments, and strategies for leading change
Critical success and failure factors
Trends and research on innovation, change, and leadership
Guidelines on how to design, implement, and evaluate change and leadership initiatives
Fresh case studies that highlight leading companies who are implementing successful change in innovative and inspired ways.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Change Management

HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources
McGraw-Hill Education
July 17, 2012

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Tags: Management, HR

Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By
Harvard Business Review Press
January 08, 2009
What makes a great leader?

It's a question that has been tackled by thousands. In fact, there are literally tens of thousands of leadership studies, theories, frameworks, models, and recommended best practices. But where are the clear, simple answers we need for our daily work lives? Are there any?

Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood, and Kate Sweetman set out to answer these questions—to crack the code of leadership. Drawing on decades of research experience, the authors conducted extensive interviews with a variety of respected CEOs, academics, experienced executives, and seasoned consultants—and heard the same five essentials repeated again and again. These five rules became The Leadership Code.

In The Leadership Code, the authors break down great leadership into day-to-day actions, so that you know what to do Monday morning. Crack the leadership code—and take your leadership to the next level.

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Tags: Leadership

Organizational Capability: Competing from the Inside Out 1st Edition
Wiley
May 02, 2008
For any organization to compete successfully in today's market, it must focus on building not only from the outside but from the inside as well. Shows the correlation between successful people management and the bottom line. Explains how involving employees in the planning and implementation process and allowing them to see the fruits of their labor (the sense of connection between daily work and long-term customer success) benefits the organization. The aim here is to show how focusing on organizational capability will not only meet short-term financial requirements, but also build a solid foundation for the future.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

HR Competencies: Mastery at the Intersection of People and Business
Society For Human Resource Management
March 01, 2008
Practical and concise, this guide provides an overview of the knowledge, skills, and values that successful human resource (HR) professionals demonstrate in all types of positions, companies, and geographies. The techniques help those professionals architect, coach, design, and facilitate programs for effective operations resulting in more efficient and content organizations. Answering such questions as What makes a successful HR professional? Which HR competencies have the most impact on performance? How do they affect business performance?, and How do HR departments affect individuals? this comprehensive and empirical book offers advice for every HR professional—making them more successful, effective, and valuable to their companies.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

Leadership Brand: Developing Customer-Focused Leaders to Drive Performance and Build Lasting Value
Harvard Business Review Press
August 13, 2007
Your company's brands hold intangible value and differentiate your firm from rivals. So does your leadership brand—a shared identity among your organization's leaders that differentiates what they can do from what your rivals' leaders can do. In Leadership Brand, Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood show how branded leadership delivers unique value for firms' investors, customers, and employees—elevating market value and creating a sharp competitive edge. The authors present a six-step process for creating leadership brand in your organization. A wealth of tools helps you differentiate your firm's leaders from those of rivals, craft a unified identity among them, and articulate a unique statement of your brand. Additional chapters and tools show you how to assess and measure your leadership brand, where to invest in the brand, which practices instill the brand, and how to communicate the brand to your many stakeholders. With its compelling new model and hands-on approach, this book helps you clarify what makes your leaders unique—and use your leadership brand to leave rivals far behind.

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Tags: Leadership

The GE Work-Out : How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy & Attacking Organizational Problems
McGraw-Hill Education
April 15, 2002
Famous "Work-Out" change-management tool explained by the people who helped develop it.
GE's legendary Work-Out program played a key role in the company's phenomenal success over the past decade and has been implemented in many other organizations. Now three executives and consultants who developed the original Work-Out approach at GE­­often working directly with CEO Jack Welch­­discuss the inner workings of Work-Out and their experiences at successfully implementing the program at GE.

Filled with effective assessment and decisionmaking tools, The GE Work-Out provides concrete and realistic guidance for anyone who wants to implement Work-Out and break down bureaucracy and hierarchy within an organization.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance
Harvard Business Review Press
April 11, 2001
Three experts in Human Resources introduce a measurement system that convincingly showcases how HR impacts business performance. Drawing from the authors' ongoing study of nearly 3,000 firms, this book describes a seven-step process for embedding HR systems within the firm's overall strategy--what the authors describe as an HR Scorecard--and measuring its activities in terms that line managers and CEOs will find compelling. Analyzing how each element of the HR system can be designed to enhance firm performance and maximize the overall quality of human capital, this important book heralds the emergence of HR as a strategic powerhouse in today's organizations.

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Tags: HR

Results-Based Leadership 1st Edition
Harvard Business Review Press
April 15, 1999
A landmark book, Results-Based Leadership challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding leadership. Authors Ulrich, Zenger, and Smallwood--world-renowned experts in human resources and training--argue that it is not enough to gauge leaders by personal traits such as character, style, and values. Rather, effective leaders know how to connect these leadership attributes with results. Results-Based Leadership shows executives how to deliver results in four specific areas: results for employees, for the organization, for its customers, and for its investors. The authors provide action-oriented guidelines that readers can follow to develop and hone their own results-based leadership skills. By shifting our focus to the connection between the attributes and the results of leadership, this perceptive new guide fundamentally improves our understanding of effective leadership. Results-Based Leadership brings a refreshing clarity and directness to the leadership discussion, providing a hands-on program to help executives succeed with their leadership challenges.

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Tags: Leadership

The Boundaryless Organization: Breaking the Chains of Organizational Structure
Jossey-Bass
August 10, 1998
Discover the specific strategies premier companies are using to position themselves for success in the new knowledge economy. In this best-selling work, a world-class team of management experts shows how leading corporations--General Electric, Morgan Bank, and SmithKline Beecham included--are busting boundaries on all fronts. Each of these companies is producing superior results by encouraging the flow of ideas, resources, and talents in and out of the organization, up and down the hierarchy, and across geographic lines. For any executive looking to build a more flexible, innovative, and competitive organization, The Boundaryless Organization remains the definitive guide.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

1 Book Chapter
The Routledge Companion to Strategic Human Resource Management 1st Edition
Routledge
August 25, 2018
Combining up-to-date research, innovative content and practical perspectives, this book is the benchmark by which all other strategic HRM reference works should be measured. Leading figures from around the globe survey the current state of the discipline, while also introducing and exploring new, cutting edge themes in order to offer a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the field.

Section introductions and integrative critiques pull together the separate themes to provide cross-comparisons between chapters to create a cohesive and well-structured volume. Unlike other texts in this area, The Routledge Companion to Strategic Human Resource Management incorporates contributions from leading management and business writers in areas adjacent to human resource management, including strategy, innovation and organizational learning. These add fresh and challenging insights into HRM themes from key mainstream business and management thinking. The field of strategic HRM is thus enriched and extended by this volume.

Focusing on the interplay between theory and practice, this book is an essential resource for researchers and students studying human resource management and strategy.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

1 Founder
Co-founder & Partner, RBL Group
RBL Group
January 01, 2019
The RBL Group is on the forefront of strategic HR transformation, leadership capability development, and strategy implementation. We begin and end with an outside-in focus on customers, employees, and investors to create solutions that yield long-term impact.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

1 Whitepaper
Level-Up Leadership: Increasing Effectiveness and Impact of Leadership at Different Levels
The RBL Group
May 01, 2019
Over ten years ago, RBL laid out The Leadership Code, a simple model which we feel captures the foundational elements of good leadership practice. This model has since been implemented in organizations of varying sizes around the world, customized to create unique Leadership Brands, and expanded to include behavioral descriptors for six different levels of leadership—from individual contributors leading themselves to executives leading some of the world’s largest companies.

Last year, we pulled data from over 13,000 global leaders and over 80,000 rater data points collected over the past ten years to look at how the Leadership Code varies at these different levels. What exactly is different about the work of an executive? A middle manager? A front-line leader? This article summarizes these findings.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, HR

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