Horizontal Leadership Managing Change And Complexity


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Often, complex challenges tend to fall between stools. Thus, to successfully cope with such challenges, you have to lead horizontally across internal and external boundaries.

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Horizontal Leadership Managing Change And Complexity

  1. 1. Horizontal Leadership – mastering challenges •  Why is it so, that today's challenges increasingly fall between stools? •  How to lead horizontally across organizational boundaries without a formal authority and mandate? Gunnar Westling, Ph D, Fram & Center for Advanced Studies in Leadership, Stockholm School of Economics 1
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  3. 3. Challenges during the ”Good ol’ times” ”I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Eight years later… the Earth” President John F. Kennedy's A Special Address to Congress On The Importance of Space May 25, 1961 3
  4. 4. International space station – cooperation between 15 nations “In some ways it was easier to go to the moon, because we had total control,” Cabana (Astronaut) said. “We didn’t have to ask, ’What is your opinion on this? How do you want to do it? You know, we just dictated to ourselves how we are going to do it.’ But those days are gone. (O’Brien, M. “Earthly Woes Mount for International Space Station” CNN.com, May 29, 2000.)  In the new era of exploring space, the biggest challenge is on ground rather than in space. 4
  5. 5. To Master Challenge – Understand Your Network 5
  6. 6. “Vertical leadership” Manage a group, unit, or function Defined responsibility - authorization Allocated resources Routines + processes + problem solving “Horizontal leadership” Manage tasks laterally across the organization Often challenges of great importance – unclear who is responsible Resource allocation based on negotiation/consent of others Sencemaking+ network + prototypes 6
  7. 7. Cooperation and leadership across organizational barriers. Is it a good idea? • Overall, research recommends: ”Don’t do it, unless you have to” (Huxham och Vangen, 2005) 7
  8. 8. More ”wicked” problems? Type of problem •  The problem itself appears as fragmented •  The problem cannot be understood before solutions are tried out in practice ”Wicked” •  Solutions often create new problems •  The problem can not reach its final solution, There is not “stop rule” •  Different stakeholder have different views and ways to understand the problem ”Tame” •  Sound solutions can be worked out through analysis •  Couse-effect relationships hang together •  It is possible to organize ways to solve the problem •  Act fast and bring more resources Crisis Extraordinary situation 8
  9. 9. Linear ”tame” problem solving Working on ”wicked” problems Gather data Problem Analyze data Formulate solution Solution Implement solution Time 9
  10. 10. 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 March 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2003 Källa http://icasualties.org/ 10
  11. 11. Adoption curve Number of ”supporters” Typically expected Typically experienced (S-kurva) Time Source: Bresman, INSEAD 11
  12. 12. The ant perspective When we’re totally absorbed by the challenge 12
  13. 13. Solution 1: Zoom out 13
  14. 14. Solution 2 Change perspective 14
  15. 15. Solution 3 Variation 15
  16. 16. Conclusion - The leadership challenge Challenges faced by organizations are foremost found in the hinterland between units and organizations (rather than falling neatly into boxes in the organization ready to deal with them)  It is thus as important, or more important, to understand and manage the social complexity of a problem as it is to solve the problem operatively/ technically 16
  17. 17. Conclusion: How to lead horizontally? 1.  Big enough idea or vision and yet focused enough to create action 2.  Understand links between the challenge and the organization’s mission and competitiveness 3.  Carefully map stakeholders and their interests 4.  Find a sponsor (insurance in bad times) 5.  To be influenced is the best method to influence others. 6.  Variation, innovation and “language games” 7.  Respectful collaboration in small groups (create a “fellowship” 8.  Early, hands-on prototypes! 9.  Dare to confront 10.  Endurance (”S-curve”) 17