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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.
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.
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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.
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Defining principles at the beginning of your design work helps to align your team and stakeholders on the overall purpose and objectives of the project. Well prepared and put into practice …
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