Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Boundary spanning

Portfolio managers--and, for that matter, system engineers--should take a look at this paper published this spring in the MIT Sloan Management Review. Entitled "Flat World, Hard Boundaries: how to lead across them", the authors Christ Ernst and Donna Chrobat-Mason posit five boundaries [or barriers] to business success--easily mapped to project success--and six practices to span those boundaries.

What I like is the matrix they have developed that summaries the whole paper into a five by six digest of the barriers and practices. [When you read the article, click on the panel titled "practices vs boundaries" to open a picture of the matix].

In a word, without rewriting the article for the authors, what you'll see is:
  • Boundaries: Vertical, horizontal, stakeholder, geographic, and demographic
  • Practices: Buffering, reflecting, connecting, mobilizing, weaving, and transforming
What's not too exciting is some of the recommendations at the cross points of the matrix. For example, this one at the intersection of Reflecting x Vertical Boundaries: 'call a meeting senior managers to facilitate upward movement of ideas generated by employees'

That meeting may be hard to schedule!

There are some good ideas in this article, as given at Mobilizing vs Stakeholder Boundary: develop an appealing goal that will motivate competition with your market competitors

Give it a read.

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