Edgecumbe’s Primary Colours® Model of Leadership
A simple and practical leadership language
What is the Primary Colours® Model of Leadership?
The Primary Colours® Model is Edgecumbe’s proprietary model of leadership. Developed over 25 years of research by Edgecumbe founder Dr David Pendleton, it defines the tasks leaders must perform in order to create the conditions for sustained success. By mapping the three domains in which leaders work – the strategic, operational and interpersonal domains – it provides a simple, memorable and actionable description of WHAT leaders need to do, not HOW they need to do it.
Over 100 years of research suggests that WHAT leaders do is consistent across geographies, industries, organisations and functions. However, HOW leaders need to work varies a great deal, based on context. We think that’s why traditional competency and behavioural models fall short of their aims.
The foundations and development of the model are set out in Leadership: All You Need To Know (2016, 2nd Edition) by David Pendleton and Professor Adrian Furnham.
How do we use it?
The model provides a common language and set of criteria for assessing and developing leadership at all levels for individuals, teams and whole organisations. Its focus on tasks makes it easy to translate business challenges into leadership challenges and to define WHAT WE NEED TO DO as leaders to meet our specific challenges.
Because the model focuses on tasks it is often overlaid on existing competency or behavioural models to provide an over-arching framework for leadership. It can then be used to frame the curriculum for leadership and team development programmes, and the core architecture for leadership talent processes.
Because the underlying structure of the model is consistent with the psychological factors which are most influential in shaping an individual’s leadership strengths and weaknesses, it supports a leadership assessment approach that reflects enduring differences between people. As such, it helps to clarify the kinds of leadership role for which an individual is fundamentally well-suited, and those in which they are never likely to thrive.
Finally, because it is based on broad leadership tasks rather than detailed competencies whose importance depends on context, it enables benchmarking of leaders across functions, organisations and industries.
The Primary Colours® Model of Leadership
What our clients say
I have seen the application of these ideas enable individuals and teams from around the world to understand what they need to do, and why, and align their personal and collective efforts to work together effectively and deliver results in a way they found astonishing.
Dr Paul Chapman
Fellow in Operations Management, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
We have seen in our company that managers take an immediate liking to its simplicity and clarity. In our journey to build a single leadership team for a multinational company, it helped them to play to their strengths and trust others to complete the team.
SVP Management Development & HR, Ahold Delhaize
I have used the Primary Colours® leadership model both personally and across the whole organisation for several years. The model challenges conventional thinking and I have seen it shape successful shifts in leadership behaviours that have driven real business outcomes.
This leadership model is practical, simple, understandable and, most importantly, it works at all levels.
Former CEO, Rolls-Royce