Are You a Three-Dimensional CEO?

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Leadership is something we practice in different moments of our careers: whether you are heading up a project, leading a team or becoming a manager. Below Luis Alvarez Satorre, author of Becoming a 3D CEO explains his thoughts on the three dimensions of leadership.

I have found that, to be successful, you should master a set of distinct leadership skills, all associated with three main dimensions, which interrelate, reinforce and develop together. The better you are at each of them, the better you are at leading. Personally, I found these three dimensions essential as a CEO. And this is what I call the “three-dimensional CEO”.

Those are: the evangelist, the engagement and the execution dimensions. Each is essential in certain moments. How much weight you put on each of them and how you combine them will drive your success. I have found leaders who are great at one or two of them. Some even consider that it is not important to cover or develop all three. Personally, I believe that a well-rounded CEO should be obsessed in developing all of them.

Those three dimensions are connected to three hidden CEO roles underneath the generic banner of the Chief Executive Officer: Chief Evangelist Officer; Chief Engagement Officer; and Chief Execution Officer.

The Chief Evangelist Officer is responsible in creating a vision for the organisation. The mission, which normally informs the vision is “why you exist as an organization”. The vision goes beyond that defining: “where you want to be”. You must define what you aim to deliver and what your long-term legacy would be. It should generate excitement in the team. You must also connect the market and your customers with the vision, but at the same time, adjust it to a constantly changing digital world. Traditionally, the vision was created at the top and cascaded down. Nowadays, co-creation is key. It means involving your employees, your customers and your stakeholders in building the vision. Can you articulate the vision for your team, your company in an easy and exciting way? Would your team, your customers recognize and support it? An easy test: in your next meeting, ask the attendees to write down the vision and see what happens.

The Chief Engagement Officer is the one who must connect the dots between the vision and the execution. The vision is nothing without a team who believe in it. And the execution is nothing without the team who deliver it. Engaging by example, the CEO should drive customer obsession within the organisation. You should do everything in your power to recruit and develop the right team. This is the dimension where I have witnessed most executives failing. It requires devoting time and energy to create connections with your own team and your customers. How much do you know of the life of your people? What motivates them or what are their concerns? Would your people say they know the man or the woman behind the job? You don’t need to be a friend but you should be ready to be exposed, to be challenged and to be open.

The Chief Execution Officer must translate the vision into actual plans. You must define the outcomes, the metrics, work the details, put in place the right governance and track the performance against those goals. You are the one who should drive change across the organisation, staying focused to guarantee the full delivery of the vision. Do you have and share in an easy way the expectations for everybody aligned to the vision? Does everybody understand how you measure progress?

The integrated work of these three roles is what will make the CEO and, more importantly, the organisation, a success. Are you a 3D CEO?

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