In a recent article by The Motley Fool, entitled 5 Leadership Lessons From Exceptionally Successful CEOs, Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza emphasized the importance for leaders to maintain a dual focus of understanding change and moving quickly.

In D’Souza’s view, the key to effective leadership is in understanding change and moving quickly. He believes that leadership is about rapidly understanding the situation, having the courage to set a direction based on that understanding, and then building a team who is inspired to follow and pursue the chosen course of direction.

D’Souza thinks the best way to accomplish this is to trust and empower staff at the front line, because they’re usually the ones to pick up on change at the earliest stages.  This rapid assessment and response to change has been key to Cognizant’s growth.



While I understand and agree with Francisco D’Souza’s advice above, the dynamics of managing change effectively can be overwhelming to understand.

I’d like to share my own version of dual focus for leaders, which may be even easier for you to implement.  When you are called on to lead, I suggest you focus on:

Let me explain why this dual focus is important.  The world today doesn’t allow for 6 months of study and evaluation before making a decision.  It is important that you quickly gather the data, facts and perspectives needed to make the most informed decision you can. Once a decision is made about the direction your initiative needs to take, don’t hesitate to begin putting your plans into action.

Remember that you don’t have to do all the data gathering and decision-making alone.  In fact, it is the opposite.  Most leaders will share with you that their ability to be agile and move quickly is due to having competent, trusted colleagues and team members to help with the work.  Not only does their participation decrease your personal workload, but it also builds a team of evangelists who are committed to ensuring your leadership efforts do not fail.

Practicing a dual focus helps to build your Strategic Decision-Making and Drive for Results competencies, 2 of the 7 competencies that will ultimately help you “lead at the top of your game.”