Wednesday, October 7, 2015

More about boundary spanning


In my posting on General McChrystal's book "Team of Teams", I made the point that McChrystal advocates networks and teams rather than hierarchies as an means to organize at the operational mission level. Indeed, he -- the general -- sees networking of teams (aka, team of teams) as an antidote to silos and hierarchy boundaries that are structure artifacts that do not add value to the mission. Unquestionably -- can we say -- such are manifestly too slow for much of the mission oriented work of projects.

Now, to add to that discussion I point you to an earlier work on the same theme: "Flat world, hard boundaries: how to lead across them" .

The authors are in close alignment with McChrystal's theme, saying about boundary spanning leadership that it's an ability to create these:


The authors, Christ Ernst and Donna Chrobat-Mason, posit five boundaries [or barriers] to business success--easily mapped to project success--and six practices, which they call the boundary spanning leadership model, 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'

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

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