Get excited! We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new book Right Leader Right Time: Discover Your Leadership Style for a Winning Career and Company, set to hit Amazon and other outlets, March 29. First a little backstory:
Since 2009, we have had the good fortune of speaking with thousands of executives, owners, and investors. If you look at interim as a specialty, it almost always is associated with some type of change happening within an organization. Maybe exponential growth is on the horizon. Or the opposite and the building is on fire. It could be competition is looming and fresh thinking is needed. In matching executives from the RED Team with companies big and small, we saw firsthand that the biggest predictor of success always came down to one thing: leadership.
We wrote Right Leader Right Time, to share our lens on leadership and to help leaders and organizations move toward bigger and better opportunities. Let’s jump into just a few key insights:
The Best Leaders Know Their Strengths – And Reject What is Not
It’s hard to count the number of execs who have approached us saying they can take on any project under the sun. CEO, CFO, COO, CIO title – sure, no problem. Startup, middle market, F500 – bring it on. Bankruptcy, fast growth, company sale – they do it all. It can feel like the stereotypical salesman opening a big trench coat saying “boy, do I have a solution for you.”
And yet. Leadership is not one size fits all.
No one, no matter how talented, was best in all situations. The most effective leaders did not try to be all things to all people. They knew their strengths. We’ve seen this play out at InterimExecs where the most successful executives are selective. They know what energizes them and where they can provide the most value. And when an opportunity doesn’t line up, they hand off. They reject. RED Team leader, David Johnson, puts it this way:
“If the leader is poorly aligned with the situation, that is going to be a problem from day one until the end. I think it’s incumbent on every leader when they look at a situation to not only be able to advocate for themselves and say ‘Yes, this is exactly what I do, I’m the best person for you,’ but also to say, ‘This is too far afield for me. This is not the thing that I am best at.’”
It’s About the Right Leader in the Right Role at the Right Time.
The best leader at one stage may not be the best leader for a different stage in a company’s evolution. So it’s essential to understand the wiring and skillset of a leader viewed against the backdrop of the company, where it stands right now.
When an interim executive parachutes into a company, they often eventually work themselves out of the job – it’s natural as progress is made. After a company is stabilized, a project complete, company sold, infrastructure put in place, or some other deliverable achieved, they move on to the next challenge. But that is not how lots of leaders play.
What is more likely? Say a company shows up telling us they are in deep trouble. Look behind the curtain and rarely (never) did that trouble happen overnight. Well intentioned managers kept plugging away hoping things would magically get better. But usually or inevitably it gets worse.
Imagine an alternative universe where the company’s commanders went beyond a list of to-dos, deciding to evaluate themselves and their teams for both strengths and weaknesses, to see if they lined up with reality. And if not, move people around. Or bring in a fresh outside perspective. Match the right leader in the right mode with the right organization, and magic can happen.
Finding Your Unique Mix of Four Styles of Leadership
Observing leaders in action, we identified four unique styles of leadership, each with a unique mindset, skillset, approach and drive. Great leaders are rich with abilities brought to bear as the situation demands and with seeming excellence and authenticity no matter the challenge. Nonetheless, we suggest leaders have a dominant, go-to mode that becomes richer, more powerful, and valued over time and across accumulated experience
It’s these four styles of leadership that serve as a guiding force to determine best fit between organization and leader.
- When a company is in chaos or decline, it’s time to call in a Fixer.
- When a company needs a creative jolt to jump out of stagnation, turn to an Artist.
- When a company needs new markets and big growth, hire a Builder.
- When a company reaches complexity and scale, align with a Strategist.
Which type of leader are you, and, if you’re a company owner or board member, which leader does your company need right now?
Pre-order your copy of Right Leader Right Time to find out, and follow along with us at www.RightLeader.com. Our focus is on accountable leadership. We are a mission to make the best leadership matches in the world. Let’s empower leaders and teams to embrace their highest and best use.