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Roselinde Torres  

Senior Partner and Managing Director at the consulting firm, BCG.

Roselinde Torres is a senior partner and managing director at the consulting firm, BCG. A senior leader in the firm’s “people and organization” practice area, she is also the company’s resident expert on leadership, a topic she has studied her entire career.

Questions she likes to ask include, “what innovative methods can help prepare the next generation of leaders?” and “how do we enable leaders to unlearn past modes and habits of success?”

Prior to joining BCG in 2006, Roselinde was a senior partner at Mercer Delta Consulting, while she has also led internal consulting teams at Johnson & Johnson and Connecticut Mutual Life. She speaks frequently about organizational transformation and leadership; her work and thinking have been featured in publications such as BusinessWeek and The Economist.

Roselinde has been a long-term advisor to CEOs, senior executives, and boards on issues of executive leadership, team effectiveness, organization design, culture change, and large-scale change implementation. She has consulted across a wide range of industries, including consumer products, financial services, health care, industrial goods, retail, and technology.

Roselinde is a frequent speaker at national business forums on organizational transformation and leadership and has authored publications on twenty-first-century leadership, organizing for growth, executive team effectiveness, M&A cultural integration, and CEO succession. She has been featured in the major business press, including BusinessWeek, the Economist, the Corporate Board, Chief Executive, Fast Company, and Institutional Investor. She serves on the selection committee for U.S.News & World Report’s America’s Best Leaders and is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Prior to working at BCG, Roselinde was a senior partner at Mercer Delta Consulting, where she also held a number of U.S. and global leadership roles. She also led internal consulting teams at Johnson & Johnson and Connecticut Mutual Life. At Johnson & Johnson, she was a member of the senior leadership team of Ethicon Endo-Surgery.

Roselinde holds an MS degree in human resource development from the American University/NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. She has a BA with honors in English and Spanish from Middlebury College

Speech Topics

Accelerate skills development

Identify and map top talent in key markets and benchmark yourself against the best Offer experiences in which leadership must be shared, such as joint ventures and partnerships

Give timely feedback, such as reviews every Friday or after every assignment in order to accelerate development Conduct quarterly talent reviews that systematically analyze the health of the leadership pipeline, diversity, and succession—and create follow-up plans based on the outcome of these sessions This list of practices is forward looking, but it is neither exhaustive nor universal. Different folks will apply different strokes, depending on their company's strategic and economic foundation. Leadership models should be built from the outside in rather than imposed from above.

The list is also rooted in learning through doing and careful and orchestrated exposure to a range of new experiences rather than classic leadership training. You cannot teach many of the new skills in the classroom, but you can put future leaders outside of their comfort zone and force them to confront, in a controlled setting, the complexities of the modern world.

What's important is thinking about leadership in a new way. The twenty-first century is still young, but it is getting late to address the leadership gap.

Create fast tracks

Provide opportunities for high-potential leaders to "skip a chair" in order to advance their career Create a "critical assignments bank" to develop next-generation leaders and to allow older leaders to make valuable contributions late in their career

Expand horizons

Require broad-based experience from future leaders, such as rotations through two functions, two business units, and two geographic regions Immerse leaders completely in unfamiliar markets by requiring them, for example, to work in rural India Temporarily assign leaders to external groups, such as industry groups, NGOs, and government panels Embed social causes into the business in order to generate loyalty among leaders

These executives identified six fundamental business changes that create a need for new leadership skills:

Intensified global and local competition

Increasing importance of multiple stakeholders

Faster rate of information and innovation

Greater uncertainty and ambiguity

Greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility

Greater need for virtual teams that transcend an organization's boundaries

These shifts are well known, but their ramifications for leadership are not well understood. Leaders need to be prepared for the future rather than stuck in the past. Defining the New Leader

Certain attributes of leadership are timeless. Integrity, courage, judgment, intelligence, vision, and ambition all still matter but will be insufficient in the future. Four additional skills or qualities are needed now. (See the exhibit.)

As a first step, leaders need to be able to navigate through this kaleidoscopic environment. They need to convey purpose and direction but also be willing to make midcourse corrections. They need analytical skills, as always, but also the ability to discern and translate signals and make decisions on the basis of both experience and imperfect information about the future.

Second, leaders need to empathize with people, understand perspectives different from their own, and build networks with people outside of their organization. This skill is critical in dealing with NGOs, regulators, and other bodies that are now participating more actively in business. It will also help companies enter developing markets—the font of future growth, where customer needs, expectations, and the willingness to pay can be quite different from in the West.

Third, leaders need to be willing to self-correct. This skill has less to do with fine-tuning strategy than with revisiting their personal and long-held assumptions about business leadership and success. Leaders need to question the status quo, be willing to reexamine the environment, and correct outdated modes of leadership. It is tricky to balance this questioning stance with the confidence that leaders need to convey.

Finally, leaders need to win and win. In other words, they should broaden their view of success in a world of greater government involvement, globalization, and interconnections. Success is no longer a zero-sum game. Companies increasingly are partnering with competitors, cooperating with regulators and NGOs, and entering markets where they may not be well known. Their success will increasingly depend on other parties rather than coming at their expense. Developing the New Leader

It is always easier to describe the future than to shape it. Companies are busily trying to create new mechanisms to identify, develop, and retain future leaders—and create new leadership metrics and processes. All of these changes are works in progress.

In our interviews, ten cutting-edge practices, grouped around three broad themes, emerged from the more than 100 identified leadership requirements. They are a good starting place for thinking about leadership in a new and necessary way.


Fierce Resource: Roselinde Torres - What It Takes to Be a Great ...
This week's Fierce resource was originally published on and uncovers the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to ...

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