The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic - Peter Drucker

The TurningTides Blog

Ideas and inspiration from Turning Tides

Collaboration: the hidden dynamics of belonging

collaboration 0317

There are few work places these days where collaboration isn’t on everyone’s lips. Or at least on the horizon. Individuals and teams are brought together for a variety of reasons. To reduce duplication, improve services, promote sustainability and in some cases, to ensure survival.  But leading merged or integrated teams is probably what gives leaders the most headaches.

Bringing people from different backgrounds and philosophies together in a shared endeavour is often laden with factionalism. 

In previous leadership roles I was often left perplexed when teams would move in an agreed direction of change only to spring back to where they had been a few weeks earlier. Like releasing the stretch on an elastic band. Ping!

Something had the system in its grip, but what?

As a coach and facilitator I work with leaders who are navigating complex change. Health and social care is one such example where they are working together to create a new landscape of integrated services. It's a complex business.

There's a tendency to focus attention at the level of the individual or the team when things get stuck. But sometimes 'difficult behaviours', conflict and repeating patterns are actually manifestations of something amiss in the system. 

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Boundaries create the freedom to innovate

Yin and Yang

Making change happen is difficult. But sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be. In complex organisations where services are interconnected and interdependent, one of the most helpful interventions we can make is to clearly define the parameters for change.

 Boundaries help people make sense of what aspect of their world is changing and what, for now, is staying the same. It's an element of the change process that tends to get cursory attention. My guess is that it gets caught up in the 'we don't want to be too prescriptive' box.

The result? We heighten the anxiety for those caught up in the change. 

A clearly bounded change initiative helps create the security for people to let go of personal concerns and put their energies into moving forward. Maslow's Hierarchy of needs has been an enduring guide for me in this respect. It's hard for people to rise to the challenge if they're experiencing crippling anxiety about what the change means for them.

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Context and service improvement: Why a systemic lens helps

Context and service improvement: Why a systemic lens helps

Most of what's written on the subject of service improvement tells us that what works in one setting is unlikely to work in another. At least not without some modification. Consideration of context is as important as programme design when facilitating change. 

Emotional intelligence enables the leader to humanise the connection between the goal for improvement and those implementing the changes. But sometimes the voice of the system can thwart even the most engaging of leaders. Ever experienced that? No matter what you do, the team just can't move forward?

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