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

Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written
Buy them at any online book retailer!
Read my contribution to the Flashblog