The Self-Disruptive Leader campaign positioned Korn Ferry as the CEO’s advisor of choice by creating a brand new leadership paradigm to match the needs of today’s fast-changing global business environment.  


Global people and organisational consulting firm Korn Ferry challenged Man Bites Dog to create a high-impact international C-suite campaign that would elevate its services from the HR function to the boardroom, where high-value strategic partnerships are forged. 

Man Bites Dog’s strategy was to find a business-critical angle that would connect leadership to financial markets. Using our proprietary 4D Strategic Ideas Framework, we identified the opportunity to make Korn Ferry’s unique leadership development services the tip of a sales wedge that could support both brand building and demand generation right across the firm’s offer.  


Man Bites Dog set out to invent a brand-new leadership paradigm: “The Self-Disruptive Leader”, with the capability to drive proactive change across strategy, business model, technology, culture and most importantly, people. This future-ready leader is able to bring robust ideas to market at a rapid pace and adapt quickly to change by disrupting themselves again and again. This would enable Korn Ferry to own and champion this new model of leadership and create a suite of new services to help organisations identify and develop the leaders of the future.  

We analysed the profiles of 150,000 leaders from the Korn Ferry Institute’s proprietary dataset to reveal that just 15% of today’s leaders are self-disruptors. From this, we modelled the gap between this current short supply of high-performance behaviours and the market’s demand for them by conducting global opinion research among investors and analysts.

While more than 8 in 10 investors believe that quality of leadership is critical to investment decisions – and the need for transformation will make leadership an even more important factor – over two-thirds of investors believe that today’s corporate CEOs are not fit for the future.

Armed with this powerful business case, Man Bites Dog produced a suite of content to promote our message that business needs more self-disruptive leaders, including global and individual country reports, infographics and videos, all housed on a dedicated microsite. The launch of the study was supported by targeted PR and social media campaigns, exclusive events, webinar series and speaker platforms. Business champions in 20 countries mobilised Korn Ferry’s entire consulting team to take the campaign out to clients and prospects, supporting profitable conversations about the new suite of Self Disruptive Leader-related leadership assessment and development services we had developed with Korn Ferry.  

unique views to the campaign webpage
report downloads in the week of launch
leaders using Self-Disruptive Leader
assessment, development and coaching services
direct sales impact


The Self-Disruptive Leader changed the way organisations and governments think about the leadership pipeline, and firmly positioned Korn Ferry as the expert on effective corporate leadership. 

The campaign generated national and business media headlines worldwide, including detailed coverage in influential leadership media from Harvard Business Review to the Financial Times, and a large dedicated feature in Japanese business daily the Nikkei, the world’s largest financial newspaper. Broadcast interviews were conducted with spokespeople in media including the BBC, Sky, Bloomberg and BFM (France’s most-watched news channel). 

The campaign webpage had over 6,500 unique views, and the report was downloaded more than 3,000 times in the week of launch. 

The Self-Disruptive Leader is now a suite of leadership assessment, development and coaching services which has already been used with more than 10,000 leaders, with a direct sales impact of more than $10 million. 

“The Self-Disruptive Leader is the highest quality publication I have read on the emerging leadership challenges in times of change.”
CEO, major emerging markets TV network (Korn Ferry APAC client)

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