Zenger Folkman

Zenger FolkmanZENGER FOLKMAN employs evidence-based methods that improve the performance of organisations and their personnel through the use of assessment instruments, development programs, certification services and practical follow-up tools that dramatically improve bottom line results.

Zenger Folkman uses hard science to determine what separates good managers from extraordinary leaders. They rely on their unique 360°feedback assessment process that evaluates how leaders perform in 16 differentiating competency areas. Scores are then bench-marked against thousands of leaders across hundreds of industries, giving leaders a clear picture of where they stand in relation to their colleagues and other professionals across the world.

Armed with this empirical data, leaders are equipped to create a personal development plan focused on those things that will have the most impact on their performance and the organisation’s success.

Zenger Folkman research shows that leaders who create action-oriented development plans to build their strengths, rather than fix their weaknesses, are more likely to become extraordinary leaders.

ZF Awards

The Extraordinary Leader Model

Traditionally, competencies have been thought of as separate, unique bundles of skills and knowledge. Recent research has shown, however, that in fact competencies are closely intertwined. Becoming good at one competency appears to make people better at another – especially if the competencies are in different categories.

ZF Tent Model

Picture the poles of a large tent. As each tent pole is raised, it increases the volume of the space under the canvas. Raising more tent poles, or increasing the height of existing poles, gets more “canvas in the air”, giving the tent greater capacity. In contrast, if an individual’s greatest strengths are all in the same cluster, his or her “tent” will be at best odd looking, perhaps even unstable.

The 16 Differentiating Competencies

The differentiating competencies are listed below by category.  These are the same behaviours assessed in the Extraordinary Leader feedback instrument.


1. Displays high integrity and honesty

Personal Capability

2. Technical/Professional expertise
3. Solves problems and analyses issues
4. Innovates
5. Practices self-development

Focus on Results

6. Drives for results
7. Establishes stretch goals
8. Takes initiative

Interpersonal Skills

9. Communicates powerfully and prolifically
10. Inspires and motivates others to high performance
11. Builds relationships
12. Develop others
13. Collaboration and teamwork

Leading Change

14. Develop strategic perspective
15. Champions change
16. Connects the group to the outside world – Networking