5Leading a Function

When people are promoted to the function leader role, they are excited to be at the top of the profession in their business. They report to a business leader directly (who may also be the CEO) and are part of the business team. Their peers are now the other function leaders.

The business leader in most cases is not a product of the same function, so there won't be much technical guidance for the new function manager, but there will be business guidance. That business guidance must be translated into function plans. In turn, function managers provide guidance to the business leader on the function's capability and state‐of‐the‐art so the business leader can make informed and sound strategic decisions.

The primary purpose of a function leader is to give their business a competitive edge by delivering function capability and results that are better than their competitors. As such, the business achieves its goals and improves its competitive position through the ability of each function to deliver.

Being an integral part of the business team, participating in the development of business strategy, and building a function competitive edge are top priorities. Being part of the business team and being responsible for the function delivering a competitive edge makes this role completely different from any leadership role in that function. Many leaders are successfully working in lower‐level leadership roles within the function. Only a select few will be successful ...

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