Ambidextrie – Digital Leadership with Agility and Flexibility to Success

Digitisation affects all of our lives and, for a long time, companies in all sectors. Those who are not behind here will quickly be left behind by the competition. In digital leadership, companies need to address this. Ambidextrie is a proven guidance method designed to strike a balance between changing and maintaining existing structures. You can find out what it is all about in this article.

What is Digital Leadership?

More than ever before, digital change affects companies around the world. The Digital Leadership decides on the success or failure of the companies. This goes with the digital transformation. In doing so, social and technical changes are taken up, traditional corporate structures are questioned and new working models are developed. Existing structures are thus being broken up and rearranged. This is an absolute must in today’s world of work. If companies are unwilling to innovate, they can quickly lose importance.

The Digital Leaders

The so-called Digital Leader organises the Digital Leadership in a leading and supportive manner. It is therefore primarily responsible and decisive for the positive or negative response of the innovative structures. It is important that these are adapted to the needs of both employees and customers. Companies must not be anxious about old structures. Courage for innovation and soft skills such as openness, innovative spirit and flexibility pave the way to success here.

Bodies of Digital Leaders

However, what properties does a Digital Leader need to have to successfully implement the digital transformation in the enterprise? First of all, this includes flexibility. Sticking to old structures and fear of wrong decisions are definitely misplaced and only hinder digital transformation. Disruptive thinking should be the divisiveness of a digital leader. Break up old structures and introduce new work processes and business models. Agility should be at least as important. This refers to the correct distribution of stability and flexibility. This allows the Digital Leader to react to changes and then act accordingly. Digital literacy is essential. It is self-speaking that in the case of a digital transformation, the head of the department should always be informed about current developments in digitalization. The final point is openness. In order to ensure satisfaction in the company, the needs of the employees must always be taken into account. Freedom for each individual is important here and classically hierarchical leadership methods are out of place.

Ambidextrie in connection with Digital Leadership

But what are the possibilities of digital transformation? How do I approach this as a company? Ambidextry offers a common and effective model. This was mainly influenced by scientists such as Michael Tushman, Charles A. O’Reilly and Julian Birkinshaw and was developed in the 1970s. Shortly explained, Ambidextrie deals with the ability of companies to act both hands. In this context, Bothhand refers to the ability to manage both day-to-day business and incremental innovations, as well as to drive disruptive innovations. For the layman many foreign words. Incremental innovations are those that renew or improve existing structures. Disruptive innovations are completely new products and structures. An example of an incremental innovation would be the evolution of the Apple iPhone from Generation 5 to 6. The reintroduction of the iPad into the market, on the other hand, would be an example of disruptive innovation.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Beim Digital Leadership muss stets auf diskontinuierliche Umweltveränderungen reagiert werden. Agilität und Flexibilität sind hier also unabdingbar.” user=”MirkoPeters9″ url=”” template=”user”] This means increasing orientation, bringing together strategies, structures, corporate culture and processes, and at the same time being prepared for inevitable revolutions. Only then can companies successfully complete the digital transformation.

Structural ambidextrie and contextual ambidextry

In ambidextry, a distinction is made between structural ambidextry and contextual ambidextry. Structural ambidextrie deals with different structures that implement different degrees of innovation. Contextual ambidextry is related to employee behavior. Depending on the context, they eventually show different rules and behaviors that need to be addressed. These two structures of ambidextry exist in parallel with each other. They are therefore also referred to as dual structures. Depending on the phase of the company in which it is currently in digital transformation, you must select accordingly.

The required different cultures are treated both tightly and loosely during ambidextry. Tight in the sense that corporate culture includes general norms that are important for innovation. This should include, for example, openness, initiative, risk-taking and a spirit of innovation. Loose in the sense that these values can be expressed differently in the respective innovation situation.

Ambidextrie – Analytical and creative action

Ambidextrie combines both analytical and creative action by perfecting the actual situation and making the target situation innovative. The aim is therefore to align company executives with two action-oriented ways of thinking at the same time – the dual structures that have already been mentioned. Executives should use the company’s resources in such a way as to enable profit-oriented exploitation of the existing business, while at the same time exploring and exploring new products, services and business models under a certain degree of risk.

Ambidextrie in Change Management

But what exactly is ambidextry useful for? Change is not a one-off project that is limited in time and is intended to achieve a certain final goal. Much more, it is an interplay between the preservation of already existing, successful structures and the innovative view forward. Managers can only succeed with a constant view of the future, without too much “clinging” to current structures and working methods. Nevertheless, it is at least as important to take into account the current success. The cramped urge for change does not bring any more than the “clinging”. It means motivating employees in current operational tasks and letting them participate in future change processes.


The balancing act between change and existence is not easy and exactly the crux of the ambidextry leadership. Agility and flexibility are crucial to the success or failure of a company. The Digital Leader must be able to react and act on constant changes in the working environment. The sensitivity of the person in dealing with his employees is also decisive here. Too much or too little innovation can affect the general mood and damage the working environment. The inclusion of employees is therefore indispensable. However, if ambidextrie is used correctly by executives, it is quite a sensible and above all successful design of corporate governance.

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