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What We Heard – A New General Counsel for a New World

What We Heard – A New General Counsel for a New World

普通律师今天需要什么样的技能?本文在2017年3月29日和30日在巴黎的年度欧洲总法律顾问活动中建立了Egon Zehnder的介绍。


在过去的十年里,印第安纳州ustries and companies have been roiled by more dramatic and more fundamental change than ever before. In this VUCA (Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous) world, we have seen organisations blur, roles change and leadership increasingly challenged.

The legal function has not been immune from this turmoil. New challenges include shareholder activism, cyber warfare and espionage, new media, increased turnover in the C-suite, heightened regulatory scrutiny, artificial intelligence, and last but not least, new business models triggered by disruptive technology.



The five dimensions of the new leadership model

The new领导consists of five dimensions. These dimensions are not a rejection of traditional competencies, but rather a more dynamic understanding of the usual competency frameworks; here, the richness of the journey is as important as the quality of the outcome. The dimensions emphasise the link between the leader and his or her team, the organisation and the external ecosystem.

They are also intended to help leaders and their teams become more agile and flexible and make them more comfortable in dealing with paradox. Thinking in this way may be more challenging for General Counsels than for other categories of leaders, because legal counsels are by nature programmed to identify and avoid risk and to operate within the framework of the law.

The five dimensions are:



Related questions General Counsels should ask themselves:

  • How much do you see opportunities rather than hurdles in market complexity?
  • Are you sufficiently agile in shaping solutions and implementing plans?
  • Do you adopt different leadership styles for different situations or individuals?
  • 您是否能够从利益相关者(外部和内部)协调相互冲突的期望?

2. Orchestrating creativity


Related questions General Counsels should ask themselves:

  • 你质疑现状多少钱?
  • 您主动鼓励实验和破坏性观点是多少?
  • 你招募/选择具有强烈创造力的人吗?
  • How do you leverage and embed outside views into your innovation process?

A critical aspect of this new leadership dimension is to create a context in which others are able and willing to innovate. The ability to innovate requires a culture that:

  • 允许并刺激公开辩论;
  • 以快速有效的方式追求并测试所有想法;
  • decides which ideas to implement and which to drop.


  • Purpose (why we exist).
  • Shared values (what we agree is important).
  • Rules of engagement (how we interact with each other and think about problems).



Related questions General Counsels should ask themselves:

  • Do you have an inspiring shared purpose for your organisation/department?
  • How much do you energise this purpose through your own authenticity and the emotional richness
    of your team?
  • 您是否绕过此目的沟通以及它应该如何转化为目标
    behaviours? Is it understood and embraced?
  • How do you create a sense of community in your department?



The ability to connect the company’s business purpose to long-term social value.

Related questions General Counsels should ask themselves:

  • 对所有关键的外部利益相关者都是谁以及为什么?
  • How much time and energy do you and your team members invest in connecting with thestakeholders? Do you have mechanisms in place to get this done?
  • 您是否将来自外部利益相关者的反馈纳入您的目标/行动计划?
  • 你和你的团队如何创造高社会影响?您是贵公司的大使在外面的世界吗?

5. Building next level leadership

The ability to nurture and develop future talent in order to strengthen the organisation.

Related questions General Counsels should ask themselves:

  • 你投资大量的时间吗nd energy in attracting diverse talent? If so, how much?
  • How much do you stimulate collaboration and exchange of ideas within your team? Do you foster a culture of regular and candid feedback?
  • Are you a role model when it comes to personal development? Do you ask for feedback?

In the VUCA world, talent will be based more on character and potential than on prior, proven experience or competencies. The key character traits will be reliability, authenticity, vulnerability and generosity. The key elements of a leader’s potential will be curiosity, insight, engagement and determination.

The challenge is how best to operationalise these new ways of leading. Role modelling or “walking the walk is one way; storytelling, showing that failures are commonplace, is another. Some feel that successes should belong to the team and that the leader should take accountability for failures. And yet in the VUCA world, people are likely to become more conservative if they are not allowed to fail.

What does this mean for General Counsels?


  • 他/她致力于整个组织的战略愿景,不仅是他/她的功能;
  • he/she understands how to leverage technology and to monetize IP assets;
  • he/she has insights into societal trends and knows how to leverage them;
  • 他/她都是其他函数与改变代理商之间的界面。乐动app下载


The General Counsel should create his/her own shared purpose for his/her legal department, which obviously should be consistent with the overall purpose of the organisation. But where a shared purpose for the whole company can be an inspiration, the legal team must also establish its own purpose and identity.

Leadership has always been about providing direction, being inspirational and giving feedback. This has not changed in the VUCA world, but the way it is being done is changing for all types of leaders, including General Counsels. They must lead the change, rather than passively watching the world change around them.

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