The Strategic Business Counsel: The ‘8C’ Model

What is the ideal twenty-first century GC like? We believe the best term for them is ‘strategic business counsel’. Over the following pages we set out a model which attempts to visualise the factors that combine to make strategic business counsel capable of operating at the highest level within their organisation.

Our model has been developed through hundreds of conversations with GCs in a wide variety of jurisdictions. Some parts of it may resonate with you more than others. It would be wrong to underestimate the impact of local conditions, just as particular employers, and the characters of GCs themselves, can lead to very different situations. Nevertheless, we believe that – as our several results show – GCs around the world have a great deal in common, and that each of the ‘8Cs’ in the model is an important aspect of strategic business counsel life for the vast majority of them.

In each case, we’ve tried to explain what’s significant for the GC and to follow our explanation with some thought-provoking questions.

Some of our previous GC reports have included tools for GCs seeking to improve aspects of their performance. This is not a tool as such, but we hope it will help GCs who are thinking about what they do and how they do it.

One challenge is that some of these areas are more within the GC’s control than others. In some cases, the biggest difficulty for the GC may be finding the right modus operandi to achieve both the company’s goals and their own.

Our model shows what helps a GC to move up the Value Pyramid. A GC who scores highly in this model while being on a low level of the GC pyramid – or who judges themselves to be at the top of the pyramid but is a low achiever in terms of the 8C model – will want to think about the reasons for that disconnect. Are they in the wrong role? Is their opinion of themselves not matched by what others think? Or have they so far succeeded while maintaining a narrow focus – and, if so, do they now have an opportunity to spread their wings?

We know that not all GCs face the same problems and challenges – although most of the GCs who have seen this model, or earlier versions of it, have been enthusiastic. But we hope our ‘8Cs’ will, at the very least, provide the material for some fruitful reflection and discussion

Key contacts

Felipe Arze Abogado Corporativo
Luis Felipe Arze, LL.M
T +56 22 4852 073
Jonathan Warne
Jonathan Warne
T +44 20 7524 6130



For the ancient Greeks, charisma was – literally – a gift from the gods. For many people today it retains that aura of mystery. How do you – how can you – acquire charisma?

In some ways you can’t. Charisma is an intensely personal thing. We each make our own, using the ingredients we’re given – or born with, if you like – but also using other ingredients we find for ourselves.

That personal aspect of charisma might be thought of as ‘authenticity’. It’s become a truism that the problem with authenticity is how easy it is to fake. But that’s too glib. You can’t fake it forever; people are smart enough to see what’s inauthentic if they’re exposed to it for any length of time.

Authenticity also means focus. It means bringing yourself completely into a situation. And being charismatic involves leveraging that authenticity with other attributes and skills. A few of those attributes may be innate, but most of them can be acquired. You can learn how to improve body language, speaking style and a host of other attributes. As our third GC report showed, you can actually learn to be influential. A key part of this is embracing and stepping into the leadership aspects of the GC role where attributes such as charisma and authenticity come to the fore, as Salomon Vaie of Corporación Multi Inversiones in Colombia told us: "In my experience, trust is something that you have to earn."

Charisma can be misused. It has been an important tool for leaders down the ages, but also for demagogues. Some people use this fact to justify not thinking about their own charisma. In the end, that’s a self-defeating approach: your charisma is an issue, whether you like it or not. It’s a key component of influence and leadership. You owe it to yourself to think about how charisma works, and to understand and build your own charisma, as part of your personal brand. Developing charisma and leadership skills provides benefits not only to the GC but also for their team and assists the entire function in gaining influence.


  • How much do you influence people when you’re just ‘being yourself’?
  • Are you a good communicator?
  • How do other people see you?
  • Would you be good at sales?
  • Can you present yourself more positively without being inauthentic? If you can, why don’t you?
  • Have you taken all the available opportunities to learn how to enhance your charisma?