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Swiss Army Knife

Brain circuits

Are you a “Swiss knife” leader? Take this test to find out

Published 24 June 2022 in Brain circuits • 3 min read

The heightened uncertainty characterizing the global competitive landscape has changed the types of leaders needed to guide teams through the ever-changing business landscape. In times of crisis, “Swiss knife” leaders stand out as being particularly useful.

What is a Swiss knife leader?

A Swiss army knife is an extremely useful tool in all sorts of unpredictable situations, making it a huge asset when you are on an unpredictable journey. Like the attachments on a Swiss army knife, Swiss knife leaders have a wide stretch zone and a variety of tools at their disposal to support others and have a wide stretch zone. They are agile and ambidextrous and know when to switch to achieve maximum impact.

We have developed a test you can use to determine if you are a Swiss knife leader. Ask yourself how often you do the following things and give yourself a score from one to five. on the following scale:

          1 – rarely

          2 – infrequently

          3 – regularly

          4 – frequently

          5 – almost always

 

Align and engage

  • How often do you recognize that your team members perceive threats and opportunities in the environment?
  • How often do you ensure your team members are fully committed to your company’s mission ready to hit your team’s goals, even in a changing environment?

Communicate and keep focus

  • How often do you communicate strategic priorities in simple but powerful words, using shop floor language?
  • How often do you ensure your team members prioritize and avoid irrational behaviors that make them lose focus?

Play offense and defense

  • How often do you scan the environment to identify opportunities that could lead to a strategic leap longer term?
  • How often do you do a deep dive to identify and take critical actions that can help your company in the short-term during times of crisis?

Manage yourself and your family

  • How often do you manage your mental and physical health as a strategic leader?
  • How often do you ensure you have sufficient time and energy reserved for your family?

Show empathy and compassion

  • How often do you demonstrate empathy for those who are suffering the most?
  • How often do you take actions to show compassion and ask regularly what you can do for others?

If your answers were mostly 4 and 5, congratulations! You’re a Swiss knife leader. If not, don’t worry – you now have a road map for where to improve.

 

Further reading: 

Toolkit for strategic leading through a crisis by Sameh Abadir and Niccolò Pisani

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