"Staying on the front foot"

18 March 2015

Our latest research report, Staying on the front foot, is published this week. Drawing on both our observations as specialist headhunters and on interviews with respected corporate affairs directors it describes, in considerable depth, the unique contribution of the corporate affairs leader, and their team, to the leadership and success of an organisation. This analysis is accompanied by a summary of the skills, capabilities and qualities (e.g. emotional intelligence, often in short supply at the top of an organisation) that the function and its leadership need to exhibit in order to deliver this contribution.

The motivation for undertaking the project was twofold:

  • Unlike some corporate functions such as HR or marketing, there is no universal understanding and definition of what the corporate affairs function does, its purpose, its remit, why it matters and its overall contribution to organisational performance. This is partly attributable to its origins as a legal affairs function and indeed it still often reports to general counsel, particularly in heavily regulated sectors. The net result of this absence of a broader consensus about its purpose and remit, is that it is not always seen as a function (as it should be) that can promote the conditions for business success and create competitive advantage.
  • By talking to highly respected corporate affairs directors (as well as to CEOs and Chairmen), to help us define the leadership capabilities that are required of a corporate affairs director when operating at executive committee level. Also to identify what capabilities the corporate affairs team itself, particularly its leadership team, need to possess in order to deliver business success.

The report is therefore designed to provide the most comprehensive analysis yet of the full breadth and scope of the corporate affairs function and its contribution to the leadership of an organisation.

Each week over the next few months we will take a theme from the research and expand upon it. We are also planning to hold a number of events and round tables over coming months, again to propagate debate around certain key themes.

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