By analyzing our pool of great business leaders by decade, three distinct leadership patterns or archetypes emerged. We called these leadership archetypes Mold-Makers, Mold-Breakers, and Mold-Takers.
Makers essentially created or enhanced businesses that took advantage of the coalescing context of their times. They built businesses that thrived in a specific contextual framework and modified their operations and leadership styles as the contextual factors evolved. Some admittedly were in the right place at the right time, but it was often more than luck that made the difference between being merely successful and being wildly successful. In contrast, Breakers were business leaders who succeeded in breaking through the contextual mold of their times. They sought not to be constrained by the present conditions of their market; they were able to envision a future landscape for success. Finally, Takers were business leaders who saw value in industries and/or businesses that others thought were no longer viable. Takers took advantage of industry consolidations and often breathed new life into companies; extending business value well beyond what others thought was possible.