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

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

Prototype 2

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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