As you progress through your organisation the way you add value changes.

There is a natural hierarchy of management and leadership work in organisations. It flows from the person at the top and cascades down through all levels of staff in the company. We find it helps to think of the hierarchy as having 7 major levels equating to 7 levels of leadership. So, if your career takes you through all 7, you first have to succeed as an individual contributor, then make 6 critical transitions on your way up to CEO.

Every time you step up to a higher level you need to make big changes in the way you carry out your work: failure to recognise this and adapt limits your ability to succeed. This goes for your team too. If individuals don’t make the necessary transition the impact is felt throughout the hierarchy, negatively  affecting performance and results.

Explore the graphics below and locate your position as a leader as closely as you can. You may find that more than one level is relevant to you. By mapping yourself against the 7 levels you will enhance your clarity on what’s required of you as a leader right now. Orientating yourself in this way allows you to assess where you want to extend your knowledge, adapt your capabilities and shift your focus to attend to what’s important at the level you are at.

And what about your team; are your people doing the right things? Use the levels to see where your team is performing well and where individulas need to adapt their behaviour. You are a catalyst: when you work at the right level you can help those around you do the same. And when both you and your team work at the right level this leads to transformation and significantly improve results in the business.

Our Accelerated Success Programme helps you drive big change, quietly and consistently, in manageable steps, over time. Whether you want to extend your own capability, raise the capability of your team or implement wider change, we help you foster change that sticks. You simply deliver better results, faster with increased job satisfaction and less stress. You get to do more of the job you want and increase the value of your contribution. And you help others achieve the same thing. That’s good for you, your team and the company.




Successful leaders know when the game has changed. Explore the 7 levels below to locate yourself. What do you notice? Consider your team: are individuals operating at the right level? more about this


Enterprise Leader

long term,
visionary thinking
You need to be sure you have fully mastered all previous transitions. Operating at the wrong level for CEO can be felt throughout the company. more about this


Group Leader

INSPIRE & SUPPORT You probably play a role in the community, in your industry and possibly within government. Additionally, your performance is visible to financial markets, shareholders and other stakeholders. more about this


Business Leader

HIGH LEVEL OF AUTONOMY Your role in the enterprise is highly visible and the link between your effort and results is clear. Setting time aside to think has never been more important. more about this


Function Leader

COLLABORATE & THINK LONGER TERM Capable delegation, managing, supervising and coaching your team directly affects the team’s ability to perform fully and deliver results. more about this


Leading Leaders

MANAGE & DEVELOP OTHERS A common problem at this level is seeing managing and developing others as responsibilities that get in the way of the real work. more about this


Team Leader

EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT ADDS VALUE The more capable you were at your old job, the harder it can be to give it up and recognize your value now is in effective management. more about this


Professional & Specialist

KEY PLAYER & INFLUENCER You may not lead a team but you are a key player at senior level in the organisation. more about this

Enterprise Leader

Preparation for this transition is difficult: it relies on the executive’s thoughtful planning to ensure they gain the necessary capabilities and experience. A caution here is to be sure you have fully mastered all of the previous transitions: operating at the wrong level when you are the CEO negatively impacts the whole company.

Recognising you are now running a whole organisation – not one business alongside others, or a portfolio of businesses – is critical in this transition. You are required to step back and stop thinking about different parts of the business so that you can focus on the whole. You are a visionary thinker but this doesn’t mean you lose sight of what is happening in the business. Indeed, you are still walking the line between holding the bigger, long term picture and ensuring quarterly operating procedures are in place, which align to the company’s strategy. So having the support of a team of high performing managers, that have successfully completed their own career turns, is crucial to your success.

Your role is to articulate a small number of priorities that the organisation must focus on to be successful. You must communicate these to inspire everyone, making sure your messages are heard clearly at all levels. Paying close attention to life outside the organisation, you stay informed about what’s changing in the economy, your industry, politics and the environment. You react in a timely and appropriate way and aren’t caught off guard.


»Read stories of others at the Enterprise Leader level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

Group Leader

Group Leaders are responsible for running a portfolio of businesses, each headed up by a Business Leader. This isn’t the same as running one business, where you knew what was going on in each function. This is a different transition and one you can’t take for granted. It requires you to give up your desire to run a business and embrace supporting your management team.

Begin to think of yourself as a ‘broad gauge’ executive and take a wide perspective. In addition to managing the complexity of a running a number of businesses you are also visible to important stakeholders outside of your organisation. You may have a role to play in the community, in your industry and with the government as well as being accountable to Shareholders and the markets. Everything is scaled up: you are taking bigger decision; the risks are greater and the time frame you are working to is longer than at previous levels.

You look at the business portfolio and ask whether it is the right one to ensure long term, sustainable growth. You attend to the company’s core capabilities to ensure they can deliver the business strategy. This means standing back and being objective in order to assess resources and make decisions, drawing on your experience and ability to analyse data.

The way you inspire others and support your Business Leaders is important. This is especially true in matters of under-performance which you address swiftly but with respect. You can’t undermine your managers but neither can you let poor performance go unchallenged, so being a proficient coach and mentor enhances your effectiveness.  As well as developing your team of Business Leaders, including helping new managers transition into the role, you are assessing who lower down the line is ready, willing and able for promotion.

»Read stories of others at the Group Leader level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

Business Leader

Business Leaders occupy a very visible position within the organisation, which can take some adjusting to. You have a lot of autonomy and responsibility for an entire business and many leaders report this is their most satisfying role. Focus shifts from leading one function to taking responsibility for a number of different functions. If your career path has been spent in one function you have to get to grips with new territory, which means learning to appreciate diversity. You work with a variety of people from different parts of the business and must appreciate the contribution of each so that you can bring them together. As a Function Leader you had to foster execution and help others make products and services work on the ground. Now you have to manage the P&L for the business, which means attending to profitability.

You help Function Leaders collaborate and contribute to a cohesive business strategy.  Thinking strategically, a capability you were developing as a Function Leader really comes to the fore. So naturally, communicating clearly, effectively and with sensitivity across functions and levels is top priority. Additionally, setting thinking time aside so that you can reflect and analyse has never been more important. However, in cultures where activity is recognized and rewarded, many leaders fail to meet this challenge.

You are expected to work to multiple time frames. You have to meet quarterly targets AND make progress towards the longer term goals. You are trading off the urgent, the stuff that must get done to achieve in the short term, with the important stuff you have to do to drive the business forwards and remain competitive. Every leader experiences this tension and many struggle to balance short term wins against long term planning.


»Read stories of others at the Business Leader level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

Function Leader

One of the toughest challenges at this turn is to continue to develop as a strategist. Many executives fail to shift their focus from operations, where they have proved their worth, to thinking beyond their part of the business. This level invites you to mature as a leader. If you were at all territorial or competitive with your peers at the previous level, that won’t get you results here.

Collaboration wins the day. Function Leaders must be able to foster collaboration within their own section and in conjunction with other function leaders. At this level you are working together to develop and execute a strategy which allows your company to outperform its competitors. You are expected to think longer term and more broadly than you have before because now you are working in service of the bigger picture. You value learning about areas which are outside of your own area of expertise. Your increased understanding of foreign territories enables your work with other functions.

Business meetings take up more of your time now. Some managers fail to adjust to this demand and perceive meetings as a nuisance rather than how business gets done at this level. With more time spent in meetings, the capability of your team to deliver on the work is critical. It’s not your job to do the work, but it is your job to ensure it gets done, on time and to the right standard. Therefore your skill in delegating, managing, supervising and coaching your team has a direct relationship to the team’s ability to perform fully and deliver results.

»Read stories of others at the Function Leader level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

Leading Leaders

If you didn’t embrace the first transition to Team Leader then succeeding here may be tougher than you expect. Team Leader combines management with doing your own work. Leading Leaders is all about managing and developing others. A common problem at this level is seeing these two important responsibilities as getting in the way of the real work.  This level is critical in keeping the business running smoothly.

The tasks of assigning work, prioritizing, delegating and monitoring continue at this level. Additionally, you are busy developing your team, measuring their progress as managers and coaching them to help them grow in the role. An additional responsibility is attending to selection. It is your job to identify who has the potential and who is ready, willing and able to step up to the role of team leader.

Furthermore, you are preparing yourself for your next move. You are thinking about strategic issues beyond your particular function and developing your awareness of issues which are of concern to the wider business.

If you get it wrong here, the impact is felt throughout the company.  If you are ill-equipped and continue to work at the wrong level, you engage your team in the same practice. Think about how that impacts on productivity above and below you.

»Read stories of others at the Leading Leaders level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

Team Leader

One of the toughest challenges for new leaders is giving up the old job for the new one. Your proficiency as an individual contributor has resulted in your promotion. But now you have to help others be successful, without doing it all yourself. The more capable you were at your old job, the harder it can be to give it up and recognize your value now is in effective management.

Managing the work of others, as well as completing your own work can be difficult. You are responsible for the logistics of planning, assigning and monitoring the work of others. Additionally, you do the softer stuff: on-boarding new hires and managing performance through setting objectives, delegating, coaching and giving feedback. Your role is to enable the team by ensuring they have the time and resources to do the job well and on time.

Your team relies on you to enhance their productivity. If you are well organized and do what the company requires of you, you enable your team to do the same. Poor planning and prioritizing, uncertainty, indecisiveness or lack of clarity about your tasks means you fail the team, their stakeholders and the wider business.

»Read stories of others at the Team Leader level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

Professional & Specialist

In today’s flatter organisations you can progress in your career without taking on a traditional management role, which formally puts you in charge of a team. As a professional – consultant, lawyer, accountant, sales account director or technical specialist – you are more likely to be a part of a number of virtual teams, which form and dis-band according to project requirements. This career path presents its own particular challenges.

To be successful you learn to build trust and credibility quickly. You know the value of being a specialist: you bring depth of knowledge and experience to the table. To achieve this you invest in your own continuous professional development, formally with membership bodies, additional qualifications and informally through reading, events, speaking and writing. Your aim is to be the ‘go to’ person for specific areas in your profession; a Trusted Adviser that can inform and educate clients and colleagues alike. Furthermore, you are flexible, being able to work with a number of different project teams concurrently and you hone your ability to integrate effectively into new work groups.

Specialists can move up the organisation hierarchy without having to make critical career turns. The danger is that when promoted into a managerial role, say heading up a team of consultants or sales staff, you continue to behave as an individual contributor. After all, this is what has got you so far BUT it won’t serve you, or your team, well in the future.

Too many professionals and specialist fail to make the necessary transition to becoming a manager and developer of people. Learning the art of good delegation is critical because now you must achieve results through others. When this doesn’t happen there are clear indicators in the business. Micromanagement shows up as the leader being a bottle-neck for decision: everything requires your approval. And when this happens the flow of work slows down, teams become de-motivated as their contribution is stifled and performance drops off.


»Read stories of others at the Professional & Specialist level

»Learn how the Accelerated Success Programme works

We offer a free session to help you decide if working with us will extend your performance and deliver the results you want. The purpose of the session is for you to reflect on:

  • Your objectives for the next 12-24 months
  • The most important and challenging aspects of these objectives
  • What it would be most important for your part of the organisation to get better at, in order to achieve fully the business objectives.

You will also know if our accelerated success programmes are right for you.

To book your free strategy session, please complete and send the form below. We will contact you to arrange your session within 48 hours.

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