Creating competitive advantage: Career pathways for senior leaders

Oxford Saïd Business School and Meridian West have come together to author a series of research papers aimed at those holding senior leadership positions in professional firms such as Senior and Managing Partners, Practice Group leaders, Heads of Learning and Development (L&D) and HR.

In our Strategic Learning & Development (L&D) series, we have examined three ways in which professional firms can utilise their L&D teams to create competitive advantage in the increasingly fast-moving market environment. First, supporting leadership teams in evolving their businesses, building a sustainable and successful ‘firm of the future’. Second, guiding professionals on how they can lead the change needed in their businesses to create this chosen future model. And third, how firms can manage strategically the impact of market dynamics on those entering the professions, at the beginning of their careers. Within this overall context, we began to explore the development of what we have come to call the ‘poly-technic’ (or ‘many-skilled’) professional, whose skills extend far beyond core technical knowledge in their specialist field.

In this fourth paper, we continue our focus on the evolving career trajectories of professionals, specifically the changing nature of more senior career paths. Historically, these phases of professional careers – especially the very end of careers – have received less attention from a developmental perspective despite the fact that the individuals who form the senior cohort of a firm are critical from a number of perspectives. They set the tone and culture for their organisation, often hold significant leadership roles and financial responsibility for major parts of the business, and also usually own many of the key client relationships driving the firm’s revenue generation.

Please download the full Paper to continue reading or get in touch if you would like to discuss this further with us.

Additional papers in the series are available below:

  • Paper 1: Designing your ‘Firm of the future’ download
  • Paper 2: Leading strategic change download
  • Paper 3: Early career pathwaysdownload


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