Great Leaders Are Ambidextrous, Are You?

An image of a light shining through a tunnel.

Transformation Network

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

The Achilles heel of every transformative business model is their reliance on ever increasing amounts of data that need to be transported quickly across wide area networks and processed at…

A person holding up three frames in front of their face.

Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

Hybrid IT blends traditional datacenters, managed service providers, and cloud service providers to deliver the necessary mix of information technology services. This IT consumption model enables a composable infrastructure which…

A mosaic of hands and flowers on the wall.

Transformation Innovation

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

4 Factors Driving Digital Transformation ROI The critical assessment factors for cloud ROI risk probability are the following:      Infrastructure utilization Speed of migration to cloud Ability to scale business/mission processes…

A neon sign with a handshake on it.

Transformation Frameworks

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

Digital transformation necessitates changes in an organization’s operational processes. According to Harvard, a focus on operations can lead to business process optimization and entirely new revenue streams. Three common routes…

A group of people standing in a room with wires hanging from the ceiling.

Transformation Infrastructure

By pwsadmin | September 26, 2020

Hybrid IT enables a composable infrastructure which describes a framework whose physical compute, storage, and network fabric resources are treated as services. Resources are logically pooled so that administrators need…

A close up of the pattern on a solar panel.

Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation

By pwsadmin | September 25, 2020

A survey of 2,000 executives conducted by Cognizant in 2016 identified the top five ways digital transformations generate value:      Accelerating speed to market      Strengthening competitive positioning      Boosting revenue growth      Raising…

A close up of the trees in the sky

Embrace Transformation

By pwsadmin | September 22, 2020

From a business perspective, differentiating business processes and quality customer service are central to overall success. Business leaders must therefore clearly identify and measure how information technology contributes to the…

An image of a person's eye in a computer screen.

Computer Vision Advances Zero-Defect Manufacturing

By pwsadmin | July 25, 2020

by Kevin L. Jackson Electronics manufacturers operate in a challenging environment. It’s hard enough to keep up with the ever-accelerating rate of change in the industry. Now customers want increasingly…

A blue bus driving down the street with people crossing it.

Real-Time Analytics Power the Roadway of the Future

By pwsadmin | July 25, 2020

By Kevin L. Jackson The complexities of citywide traffic are pushing the limits of existing transportation management systems. Outdated infrastructure is based on proprietary, single-purpose subsystems, making it costly to…

A businessman standing on top of a cliff with his arms raised.

Thriving on the Edge: Developing CSP Edge Computing Strategy

By pwsadmin | March 6, 2020

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are facing significant business model challenges. Referred to generally as edge computing, the possibilities introduced by the blending of 5G networks and distributed cloud computing technologies are…

Melvin Greer
Managing Director, Greer Institute
 There are many important characteristics of great leaders. Team players, good listeners and visionary are clear hallmarks. But being ambidextrous is required now more than ever. Ambidextrous leadership is a balanced approach where flexible leadership behaviors that lead to better business outcomes are the rule. 
Ambidexterity is the ability to engage in innovation (exploration) and operation (exploitation) equally well. But these are two very different yet complementary leadership behaviors.
  • Exploitation: Reducing variance, adherence to rules, alignment and risk avoidance  
  • Exploration: Increasing variance, experimentation and failure, value alternatives and risk taking

And why is ambidextrous leadership required now more than ever? Leadership is in crises and leaders are facing an increasing set of complex issues. This crisis manifests itself in a lack of employee engagement and retention along with lower market share and business performance. According to 2013 Ketchum Leadership study there is an unambiguous crisis of confidence in leaders.
According to the survey, just 24 percent of people around the world believe leaders overall are providing effective leadership. Poor leadership directly hits sales, and in 2012, 60 percent of people boycotted or bought less from a company due to poor leadership behavior. This assessment indicates that we are experiencing an innovation gap where today’s leaders have neglected leadership behavior that fosters innovation in favor of operational performance.
What makes ambidextrous leadership hard is that innovation is a complex and non-linear activity. There is a dynamic lifecycle and pace of innovation, combined with situational variability. This requires leaders to develop temporal flexibility—the ability to know when to do what for maximum business impact. Given the focus on innovation, today’s leaders are encouraged to develop a 21st Century Leadership model, which emphasizes ambidextrous leadership.
So what does it take to become an ambidextrous leader? Here are some key first steps:
1.     Develop an ability to harness disruptive innovations. I’ve identified four disruptive innovations that are impacting leaders and leadership. IT knowledge has traditionally been confined to the IT department, but not anymore. Today any leader should be able to read a P&L or interpret and operate a balance sheet; they should be able to understand how technology will impact the business strategy of their organization.
2.     Drive innovation via workforce and talent. Innovative leadership requires systematic innovation; a tight linkage to the development of a strong workforce and the development of future leaders, students via a robust science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline.
The book, 21st Century Leadership, drills down to illuminate what makes leaders so good at innovation and talent, and describes how to move an innovation strategy from “chasing shiny objects” to a powerful, sustainable cultural change and create a magnet for great talent. The goal is to mature new leaders and inspire future innovators. This is how we, as leaders, turn this disruption from a challenge into an opportunity for business growth via innovation.
By taking these steps we can close the innovation gap and avoid leadership behavior that atrophies innovation in favor of operational performance. We can truly have ambidexterity leadership and engage in innovation and operational activities equally well.

The Boston Consulting Group in its top 20 most innovative companies for 2014 ( listed firms like Samsung, Tesla Motors, Dell and Intel.  These companies are working to drive operational performance and innovation to their clients benefit.


( This post was written as part of the Dell Content Partners program, which provides news and analysis on technology, business and gadget-geek culture. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.)

Bookmark and Share

Cloud Musings

( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS – © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2012)

Follow me at
Posted in

G C Network