This feature of Alex Brueckmann is part of Exeleon Magazine’s listing of The 100 Most Dynamic Leaders of 2023. Check out the entire issue and listing by clicking on this link.
Brief us about your journey. What prompted you to shift from music to management studies and business strategy?
Following 9/11, I had lost my job as the editor-in-chief of a news agency, when the business suffered losses in revenue. I realized that I didn’t sufficiently understand the macro and micro economic environment I was working in. That prompted me to study general management.
At business school, I wasn’t particularly interested in strategy as a subject. My passion for strategy was born when I joined the division CEO of one of the largest media organizations. They planned to restructure the division and the CEO made me the strategy manager. That’s when I discovered the power of strategy for businesses and the people within.
A few years later, I first transitioned into management consulting and then started to build businesses at the intersection of strategy design, executive team development, and leadership development.
How are you helping CEOs and executives design and implement impactful business strategies?
We use our hands-on model called the 9 Elements of Organizational Identity to build cohesive executive teams, design impactful business strategies, and inspire action across the entire business.
At the core, we help our clients find answers to questions about what they do, and for whom, and what the impact is that they create for their customers. Then we create clarity and direction by envisioning their business at some point in the future and derive the handful of strategic priorities that will move the business toward that vision.
We then make measurable progress, derive and train the necessary capabilities – especially the required strategic leadership skills – and create a compelling narrative to engage all stakeholders in implementing strategy. By design, everyone in the business understands how they contribute to making an impact, which unleashes motivation and accountability.
How do you manage to lead a balanced life while juggling multiple roles as a strategist, author, speaker, and executive thought partner?
I’m a lucky guy in the sense that I love what I do. It does not feel like an exhausting amount of work, even if it can look overwhelming by other people’s standards. My work gives me energy, as opposed to depleting my batteries.
Also, I constantly remind myself that what matters most in life is not our work, but the relationships we build and maintain with family and friends. For example, I only have one shot at raising my son in a meaningful way. This perspective helps me put all aspects of life into context and prioritize accordingly.
What advice do you have for businesses that are struggling to align their operations with their intended impact?
Impact is the result of a clearly defined business strategy that translates your purpose into measurable outcomes. If a business is not seeing progress in creating the desired impact, it often comes down to a lack of understanding and buy-in into the strategy.
One of the most common challenges for leaders is building their desired impact into every aspect of operations. When leaders in the middle of an organization struggle to understand the strategy – maybe because it is jargon-heavy instead of straightforward – and the culture is holding them back from addressing questions, they will struggle to lead strategy-focused conversations with their own teams. They fear to look uninformed when their teams ask questions about the strategy that they cannot answer.
As a result, they avoid the topic altogether, which leads to a lack of alignment across the organization on what the priorities are and how each team contributes to success.
Finally, what is your vision going forward? What are you most excited about?
Over recent years, we’ve been using the 9 Elements model very successfully with our clients. The short-and mid-term results they are celebrating is all the motivation I need to continue what I do today and going forward.
Seeing the buzz around my books is adding to the excitement and it’s humbling to see the positive reactions and messages from readers. My vision for the coming years is to add more books and courses that produce tangible learning and inspire practical application for leaders, managers, and facilitators.