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If there is no relationship, there can be no leadership
Leadership is not only something a leader has, or something she does, but something that happens in the relationship of leaders and followers. And if there are insufficient organizational networks – a web of multiple relationships within a social group – the capacity for leadership within that organization remains limited.
Thus, developing leadership capabilities within an organization in turn means honing, and leveraging networks within that organization. In many organizational structures, networks are strongly determined by and reinforced along formal set-ups, e.g. divisional or unit structures (the will known silos which are so often lamented. But there are ample ways for individuals and organization developers to build additional webs of relationships; be it based on personal initiative, on common interests or as a byproduct of project work or cross-functional tasks.
The Network Mapping Canvas
As part of our Leadership Development Kit, we have developed a Network Mapping Canvas including a five-step approach for network mapping and planning. This tool can be used for individual reflection by an aspiring leader; by consultants or business partners serving an organization or unit; or within a group (or, in action learning speak, a “set”) of leaders collaboratively working to develop their leadership skills.
Last not least: strong and diversified networks, including a bunch of trusted personal relationships, are also a great source to obtain leadership feedback – a key ingredient to actually learn leadership based on practical experience.
Let's start with a hypothesis: Employee experience is what people will remember and tell others about the job and the organization ten years after they've left . If that’s true, there’s nothing wrong with benefits, perks, comfortable office chairs, etc., but those things probably don’t qualify as key drivers of employee experience.
In an earlier blog post, we argued that canvases, if well designed, support a new way of solving management problems. But how can we design a good canvas? We propose a few design principles – drawing on literature but above all on our experience of using the canvas format as part of our Kits …
Doubtlessly due to the pioneering work of Alex Osterwalder and his Business Model Generation model, canvases have become a novel approach to empower problem solving. This approach isn’t simply about a new set of tools – rather, it stands for a new way to tackle management challenges.
Can design thinking promote organizational responsiveness? I believe the answer is yes. Yet the interesting part is the process of getting to that answer and exploring the implications for new forms of organizing.
Managers seeking standardization and scale through functional specialization in unit structures should be aware of the potential downsides - and should consider a broader set of criteria in their organization design approach
When it comes to organization work, clearly defining your scope – or your limits – is as important as linking your design work to your strategy and basing it on principles.
One key tenet in the debate around the future of work has been the need for organizational collaboration and the ways to make it happen.
Any initiative to develop organizational leadership capabilities should carefully consider its platform – the places, structures, bodies, and processes where you define and manage LD interventions in your organization.
Developing leadership capabilities within an organization in turn means honing, and leveraging networks within that organization.
A strong link between the enterprise strategy and the leadership development approach does three things: it provides focus. It ensures relevance. And it adds clarity.