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

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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 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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Helping change leaders find their way through complexity

 

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Whether responsible for leading it or involved in implementing it, planned change can be overwhelming and isolating regardless of your experience and competence as a leader. So it's a major focus for TurningTides. Our Executive Coaching Framework comprises three elements - individual, relational and systemic. It's the systemic element that I want to focus on in this post.

Leaders can lose their bearings in organisational complexity 

Work environments are complex these days. Organisational boundaries are less clearly defined as services integrate and centralise in pursuit of greater collaboration and efficiency. Leading change in this context can be pretty demanding. There's a lot to think about, not least of which is connecting with, and maintaining positive relationships with the people involved in the changes.

In reality 'planned change' is a bit of a misnomer. The complex adaptive nature of systems means that the environment within which organisations operate is constantly changing and the human response, both inside and outside the organisation, tends to be unpredictable.

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