Recently on Chris Gibbons’ program on Talk Radio 702, Jonathan Foster-Pedley of the UCT GSB, presented the results of a piece of research that was done at this university.

Further exploration led me to this article, which makes tremendous sense in the current leadership landscape.

The essence of the findings were that there are 7 “X-Factors” that
necessary for success as entrepreneurial leader. I note that these
factors were researched in the financial services sector, but it seems
reasonable to apply them to leaders in general:

  1. Flexibility in Strategy. Being adaptable to change allows for creativity and innovation.
  2. Self Awareness. Acknowledging their own strengths and weaknesses, paying attention to intuition and being strategic in partnering with others who complement their own skills.
  3. Reflection. Taking time out for thinking, assessing, and planning. This led to a better understanding of themselves, as well as the situations that they found themselves in.
  4. Polarity Management. Being able to manage the paradoxes that surface in modern business shows that not everything can be resolved with “either/or” thinking – to compete successfully a leader needs to be able to find a balance between opposing, yet interrelated demands.
  5. Embrace and Encourage Diversity. Different thoughts, cultures, attitudes, opinions, and voices increases the number of ideas and solutions.
  6. Linkages or Networks. The more people the leaders know, the greater the number of potential opportunities that can be accessed and harnessed. They have also all benefited from mentoring links.
  7. Clarity of Connectivity and Rate of Information Flow. Talking, listening, and learning is instrumental to building a team ethos where ideas continue to flow.

Foster-Pedley summarizes this in the following way:

“The requirements of an entrepreneurial leader in the 21st century are
markedly different than their 20th century predecessors – traditional
approaches to organising business have been made redundant owing to the
dramatic increases in global competitiveness.”

“Given the growing importance of entrepreneurship, not just to the
development of emerging economies like South Africa, but on the global
stage, there is therefore great practical value in being able to
identify the traits required to be a successful entrepreneur and
entrepreneurial leader. These X-Factors are essentially the catalysts
for success.”