The Role of the Multidexter Leader
The role of a leader is to lead. Leading the creation of a vision for a company, leading the development of a strategy to reach that vision, leading the execution of that strategy, and finally, leading change.
No organization has been successful by remaining static, in the same
While consistency is a good thing for a competitive strategy, it can also make you incompetent if you don’t recognize the right time to disengage.
A company’s long-term plan must have the flexibility to allow pivoting if things go wrong, but must also have the focus to get things done and become better over time.
Your responsibility as a leader committed to long-term growth is to pursue the right amount of change. No more, but also no less. And that’s why you need a strategy.
Because a good strategy will prevent you from pursuing too many things at once and getting distracted. It will force you to focus on the few achievable goals that create the most long-term value for your shareholders and your people.
In order to achieve these goals, you’ll need good execution to ensure that the right people have the right incentives to do their part. If the strategy is right, a good execution system will guarantee progress towards these goals. If the strategy is wrong, a good execution system should raise a red flag in time to allow reconfiguration.
These are not easy tasks. As a multidexter leader you must have the long-term creativity to create a vision and the short-term energy to execute it.
You must keep your sights firmly locked on the final target while leading your teams through the small steps that will take you all there. You must stay focused on the “whats” of strategy while leading people through the detailed “hows” of execution.
To avoid biting off more than they or you can chew, you must keep your focus on a limited set of significant long-term goals, which must be translated into a higher number of shorter-term goals downstream.
As a multidexter leader, you understand that you must become the main vehicle to channel the strategy throughout the organization, so you must also become a multidimensional communicator as well, who adjusts the message to the context and reality of the listener, to deliver your message more effectively.
Multidexter executives like you are the true Trojan horses of culture and vision.
Communicate your vision every chance you get. In leadership meetings, in random visits to employees, in the company’s newsletter, in staff meetings and even in informal discussions.
Always find a way to explain to people how everything they do is tied to that main vision and ask your subordinates to do the same.
Make it a priority to know your company, businesses and people like no one else. Become a part of the organization’s system, one who shares each employee’s pains and understands the realities of those at the front line implementing the strategy.
Try to be reachable by anyone, and never miss an opportunity to coach and talk about the strategy with employees of any level. Stop giving orders, and instead help people get things done.
Ask questions that force people to think for themselves and speak their minds. That’s how you will make those people smarter and how you will get to know them better, understanding their strengths and weaknesses.
Use communication as your little trick to always be in touch with reality, because above all you must always insist on realism.
Without a reality-based mentality, the strategy might just be an illusion, and if the strategy is not realistic everyone, including you, will fail.
Finally, pick your own strategy metrics and once you have them, push through to make them better like nothing else matters, because it doesn’t.
Remember that every organization needs its own strategy based on its own vision, unique set of capabilities and the opportunities in front of it.
What works for others may not work for you, what worked in the past may not work today, and what will work in the future, the place we are all heading into, is being created now.
Wu, Sun. Strategy for Executives, this book can now be downloaded for free here.