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

A NEW TAKE ON COLLABORATION

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Adam Kahane’s new book - ‘ Collaborating with the Enemy’ - is a must for anyone having to collaborate with diverse others whatever the context. Indeed, it should be recommended reading on leadership programmes where there is a need to work across organisational and/or cultural boundaries. With the economic situation as it is, collaboration is fundamental to the sustainability of services.   To begin with oneself...' is a maxim that can trip glibly off the tongue, but Adam takes us below the surface. With honesty, humility and pragmatism he shows why we must change ourselves before we can reach out and fully connect with others who don't share our view.   "Collaborating with others, especially others who we do not agree with or like or trust us, requires us to join with them as equals".   ‘Enemyfying’ Many of the case studies in the book relate to ‘high stakes’ fraught...
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Collaboration: the hidden dynamics of belonging

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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...
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Collaboration - moving our attention to the spaces in between

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This is the third in a series of four posts capturing my thoughts and experiences while engaging with the U Lab programme Transforming Business, Society and Self.

Guided by the U Lab process I've been reflecting on how leaders are supported in their organisational and service change work. Hosting a Hub at the Melting Pot on 'Sustaining the Change Makers' has meant I've engaged with the process at deeper level than I might have. It's certainly encouraged me to think differently.

Navigating the System

In Scotland much of the success in public service reform will lie in the ability of leaders, teams and individuals to work collaboratively across the sectors to build more equal, enabled and resilient communities. 

 Systems’ thinking tells us that the implicit role of the system is to maintain the status quo. Corporate governance arrangements, while important for public accountability, can become overly concerned with protecting the interests of the organisation militating against their ability to collaborate with external partners.

Ambivalence can result. Senior leaders know they have to collaborate but cultural norms and accountabilities get in the way.

Middle managers receive mixed messages and are left to navigate the turbulent waters of collaboration. 

Oshry in his book Seeing Systems doesn’t mince his words: 

"Tops are burdened by what feels like unmanageable complexity...... Middles are torn and confused between the conflicting demands and priorities...."

Sound familiar?

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