Thursday, June 30, 2011

Collaboration Does Not Equal Consensus

The most recent HBR is all about collaboration. Morten Hansen has some great insights.


"Collaborative leadership is the capacity to engage people and groups outside one’s formal control and inspire them to work toward common goals—despite differences in convictions, cultural values, and operating norms.


Most people understand intuitively that collaborative leadership is the opposite of the old command-and-control model, but the differences with a consensus-based approach are more nuanced."

Below are some helpful distinctions between the three leadership styles. Just wondering what you think?

COMPARING THREE STYLES OF LEADERSHIP


COMMAND AND CONTROL

CONSENSUS

COLLABORATIVE

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Hierarchy

Matrix or small group

Dispersed, cross-organizational network

WHO HAS THE RELEVANT INFORMATION?

Senior management

Formally designated members or representatives of the relevant geographies and disciplines

Employees at all levels and locations and a variety of external stakeholders

WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE FINAL DECISIONS?

The people at the top of the organization have clear authority

All parties have equal authority

The people leading collaborations have clear authority

WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND CONTROL?

Financial results against plan

Many performance indicators, by function or geography

Performance on achieving shared goals

WHERE DOES IT WORK BEST?

Works well within a defined hierarchy; works poorly for complex organizations and when innovation is important

Works in small teams; works poorly when speed is important

Works well for diverse groups and cross-unit and cross-company work, and when innovation and creativity are critical






Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Humilitas



Over the past few weeks I have been reading John Dickson’s book Humilitas. It’s a great read. John has a way of writing that I greatly appreciate. He is consistently able to take complex ideas and make them assessable to everyone.

The definition of humility that John proposes is:

"Humility is the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself."
Or it is a "willingness to hold power in service of others."

I think this is a great definition (it’s on our fridge) and his thesis is well supported with illustrations and arguments taken from classical history, the bible, contemporary leadership and personal reflections.

I particularly like the way the book spells out some of the practical implications of embracing humility and does not leave us with only a conceptual framework. Humility generates abilities; develops character and influence; inspires others and is better than tolerance. The final chapter lists some steps to growing in humility.

1. We are shaped by what we love.
2. Reflect on the lives of humble.
3. Conduct thought experiments to enhance humility.
4. Act humbly.
5. Invite criticism.
6. Forget about being humble.

The book has some very useful insights but I do wonder about some things.
  1. In my view he would have been better to stay away from personal examples that illustrate humility but promote the authors status. For example the meeting with U2 at age 16, does illustrate Bono’s humility but also promotes the authors status.
  2. It is clear from the outset that John has a wide audience in mind as he writes both for both a secular and Christian readership. This is fantastic but I disagree with his suggestion that he should or is able to approach the discussion about Jesus’ humility from a position of neutrality as a historian. I would prefer Tim Keller’s approach (in the Reason for God, DVDs). Keller’s approach is that we all come to look at Jesus with a bias, acknowledging this bias is fundamental to understanding who Jesus is and how he shapes(our) history.
  3. With the discussion about honour and shame it is intriguing that there is little recognition of the Asian cultural issues around honour, shame and humility.
  4. I love the steps to humility but I would have liked to see more discussion around the link between God's grace and and the steps to humility.
I recommend Humilitas it is a great read. I read it in e-book format which I found well worth the price. Just wondering what you think?