Our 4 C x 4 D model of Leadership Excellence

When you engage the 4C x 4D model to practice Leadership Excellence you will progressively sense and seize opportunities, manage threats, and flourish amid complexity, change, and risk. 

Leadership Excellence = 4 Competencies x 4 DimensionMastering the 4 Competencies requires a growth mindset and deliberate practice.  Such practice should be incorporated into work activities and culture to help it become firmly established.

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, raising performance to a higher standard, building personality beyond its normal limitations.  Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help orchestrate the energy of those around you.”                           – Peter Drucker


The four leadership dimensions work together as a unified whole

As Peter Drucker indicates, Leading Self is the foundation for leading others. Leading Groups recognizes that most activities include multiple people. Leading Organizations integrates and unifies internal and external activity. Leading Systems recognizes the need to engage webs of interdependent stakeholders.

  1. Self: This includes the individual work needed to develop and apply the 4 Competencies across each of the 4 Dimensions.  It begins with identifying your core character and calling. Good character includes consistently facing reality, acting with integrity, caring for the whole and creating a “positive wake” such that others are left better off. Character is revealed when facing difficult challenges.  Good character inspires trust and mutuality.  Calling is committing to, and performing from highest intention and purpose.  It is an expression of character and fuels vitality and intrinsic motivation.
  2. Groups:  Groups include units, functions, project teams, and partnerships. Excellent group leadership calls for aligning the group’s core values and mission with those of its members, its organization, and its system. Excellence is achieved when group members feel psychologically safe, are aligned and vitally engaged, and effectively center, connect, and coordinate.  This fosters effective co-creation, conflict integration, unified action, reliability, learning and high performance.  Too often meetings are considered a major waste of time. However, meetings can become very valuable when participants practice centering, connecting, and coordinating in order to develop and work together effectively. 
  3. Organizations: Organizations are highly effective when everyone’s efforts are properly aligned, integrated, and unified. Leadership excellence is advanced through skillful adoption of, and practice using, the 4C x 4D model.  Coordination mechanisms should include a powerful business model that effectively integrates the interests and activities of everyone involved both internally and externally. 
  4. Systems: Addressing today’s opportunities and threats often requires the engagement of a whole system of interrelated stakeholders.  This may include an array of organizations, units, and people.  Leaders must skillfully apply the 4 Competencies such that all stakeholders are fully engaged and effective. You can accelerate and deepen transformational efforts to align and mobilize disparate stakeholders by coordinating your system with methods such as the Appreciative Inquiry Summit.

Taking Action:

To introduce Cooperative Advantage first assess your leadership effectiveness using the leadership Elements, Process, and Competencies introduced earlier. Then identify, design, and conduct a small group pilot. Apply the applicable elements, processes, and competencies and learn from this effort.  Finally, tailor and launch the 4C x 4D model with additional groups, organizations, and systems.

By David Sherman, Founder, Cooperative Advantage.  David equips and supports leaders to develop and integrate the cooperative power of people, organizations and systems to advance a better future.

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