Enterprise leadership is the art of painting a bigger picture while delivering on the detail - Future Leadership

Enterprise leadership is the art of painting a bigger picture while delivering on the detail

Eyes on the Enterprise

By Dr Marcele De Sanctis

Enterprise leadership is the art of painting a bigger picture while delivering on the detail

We often hear the nonchalant chant of “What got us here, won’t get us there” ringing through the halls and Teams calls of high growth organisations. The same is true, but less nuanced, when it comes to the growth of individual leaders.

Talented individuals within organisations accelerate their business units, compete for resources, shoot the lights out of their budget targets and become ever more integral to the success of the enterprise as a whole. Yet, at what point do we take a step back and nurture these leaders to take on an enterprise leadership perspective?

Our CLA team has been applying our Enterprise Leadership Model to our client’s organisational challenges with great response. Across sectors, leaders are struggling to move beyond siloed product and service offerings to deliver the broad-based, integrated solutions clients demand. To be successful, leaders need to align their local team agenda with the broader enterprise agenda. What is the new set of capabilities required to lead collectively at an enterprise level, while simultaneously leading your own team at a functional level?

How CLA Leadership Development supports the Enterprise Leader

Inspired by the work of global research house, Gartner, and others who first proposed the concept of Enterprise Leadership, our team has developed an Enterprise Leadership Model identifying the capabilities, mindsets, skills and behaviours that support an enterprise-first approach.

Enterprise Leadership Model

Inside the Mind of an Enterprise Leader

  • The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  • Performance comes about when you enable others
  • Collective decision making is encouraged and supported
  • The organisation is perceived holistically, beyond one’s immediate remit.
  • Leaders are prepared to give up what is important to them in service of a goal that will benefit the entire enterprise.

Our model separates four elements of enterprise leadership, leveraging work by Kim Scott on Radical Candour and Rob Cross and Robert Thomas on network leadership. We highlight the watch points for you to spot enterprise aptitude in leaders, develop an enterprise perspective in high potential existing leaders, and solve for gaps to fulfil an enterprise growth strategy.

Top Capabilities of Enterprise Leadership

A number of capabilities are closely aligned with the elements of our enterprise leadership model. We draw these capabilities from our own Future Leadership Capability Framework, below.

The key capabilities of a Solidarity Mindset include:

  • Direction and Purpose
  • Ethics, Integrity and Compliance
  • Emotional Awareness

The Solidarity Mindset is underpinned by an ability to support a decision when you exit the room even if you did not agree with it. A leader embodying this trait firmly believes, and articulates, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  These leaders have a strong sense of purpose, and communicate that to broad stakeholders to ensure organisational alignment. They build unit capabilities and share resources across the organisation in a way that contributes to the enterprise-wide capability. They anticipate how various stakeholders will react to change, and work to bring everyone along. These leaders believe their role exists to enable and improve others’ performance and talk about the business as a whole, above and beyond their part of it.

The key capabilities of Radical Candour include: 

  • Influence and Communication
  • Learning and Growth
  • Emotional Awareness

Leaders possessing radical candour actively seek opportunities to improve the broader enterprise and contribute to peer conversations. They are quick to recognise their colleague’s achievements and proactive in offering help and support to other colleagues. Their style is to play the ball, not the person, when challenging colleagues’ perspectives and they seek to understand and assume positive intent, asking clarifying questions and probing for the underlying thinking of their colleagues rather than jumping to conclusions.

The key capabilities of Decision Making include:

  • Initiative and Drive
  • Critical Thinking
  • Direction and Purpose

When it comes to decision making, enterprise leaders work to build resilient ecosystems wherein diverse viewpoints are valued. These leaders make decisions enabling all component parts of an organisation to move in the same direction. They speak up especially when they believe that a decision is not in the best interest of the organisation and its critical stakeholders, and will take several different approaches to get their point across. Enterprise leaders make every effort to contribute to enterprise-wide decisions even if the decision has minimal impact on their area, and believes in mutual accountability.

The key capabilities of Network Leadership include:

  • Engagement and Culture
  • Strategic Relationships
  • Innovation and Creativity

Network leaders are able to connect rather than direct their teams to enhance performance. They demonstrate a lateral view (looking across) instead of only focusing on what is in front of them (siloed). They help their own team meet localised goals as well as assist other teams achieve their organisational goals. In addition, they show interest in, and take action to, understand the business outside of their immediate area. The enterprise leader will regularly visit other parts of the business, talking to leaders and employees who work in disparate domains, seeking input from external people and taking this input on board when making decisions. These leaders do not simply delegate work, they ensure teams have the resources and visibility to succeed. 

As organisations become more complex, they must also become more integrated. As leaders bridge the demand for driving team performance and unit-level growth, they must also be visionaries and systems thinkers for the future. This is no small ask! It’s time to intentionally recognise and nurture the leaders with Enterprise Mindset potential in your organisation. We have seen the results of this approach.

Get in touch with us if you want to learn more about our approach to enterprise leadership and how we can assess and develop your leaders in alignment with this valuable mental model.

CLA offers leadership development, coaching and assessment to support organisations to build on their internal capabilities to meet the future. The CLA team form the advisory practice within the Future Leadership ecosystem, bringing together a suite of solutions to support the leadership lifecycle. Underpinned by the Future Leadership Capability Framework, we work with our client partners to map capability to emerging conditions.


Our CLA team are instrumental to this broader talent ecosystem. We are a team of organisational psychologists, executive coaches, leadership specialists and transformation experts.

And we welcome a conversation with you.

Contact Dr Marcele De Sanctis

Contact Dr Marcele De Sanctis

Managing Partner, CLA


CLA is are the advisory firm working alongside Fisher Leadership Executive Search and Gig Executive Interim Talent to form the capability ecosystem known more broadly as Future Leadership.

Our capability framework underpins every talent solution we design across our range of services, and CLA play an integral part in our Leadership Development, Assessment, Coaching and Transition, and Organisation Transformation offerings. Marcele and the team are renowned for bringing an evidence-based approach to extraordinary leadership.

Reach out for a conversation

Contact the team at CLA

No, thank you.