Boundary-Spanning Leadership

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In order to be successful, it is universally accepted that organizations must ensure all employees are aligned with business objectives. But in a world where objectives inevitably change, how do your leaders keep employees aligned? In this session, Rich Been will discuss an emerging framework that defines leadership in terms of its outcomes of direction, alignment and commitment. This session also will introduce the Center for Creative Leadership’s latest, cutting-edge research on “boundary spanning” — the capability to create direction, alignment and commitment across organizational boundaries in service of a higher vision or goal.

Roland Smith, Ph.D., Senior Faculty Member and Lead Researcher, Center for Creative Leadership

Mark Onisk, Vice President, Learning Products, Element K

Published in: Business, Education
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Boundary-Spanning Leadership

  1. 1. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. WHAT is boundary spanning leadership?
  3. 3. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. What is boundary spanning leadership? Why is it needed? So What are the implications?
  4. 4. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Based on two CCL research projects… Leadership Across Differences Involved over 2800 surveys & nearly 300 interviews with leaders at all levels 12 countries in 6 world regions Corporate and nonprofit sectors Leadership at the Peak Conducted with 128 senior executives who participated in CCL’s Leadership at the Peak program 32% CEO/President 60% SVP/Director 8% VP/Other
  5. 5. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. What are the challenges faced by leaders that need to span boundaries?
  6. 6. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. V E R T I C A L across levels & authority H O R I Z O N TA L across functions & expertise S TA K E H O L D E R across external groups & interests D E M O G R A P H I C across diverse groups & differences G E O G R A P H I C across markets & distance The 5 boundaries of LEADERSHIP{ }
  7. 7. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. POLL: Leadership Across Boundaries 1.  What type of boundary is your organization at its best (in terms of boundary spanning)? 2.  What type of boundary does your organization struggle the most (in terms of boundary spanning)?
  8. 8. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. WHY is boundary spanning needed?
  9. 9. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. How important is it for you to collaborate effectively across boundaries? How effective are you? 2009 Boundary Spanning study with 128 senior executives
  10. 10. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. 2009 Boundary Spanning study with 128 senior executives Middle management represents a potential bottleneck for collaborative leadership
  11. 11. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. HOW can boundary spanning leadership be practiced?
  12. 12. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. REFLECTING MOBILIZING TRANSFORMING BUFFERING CONNECTING WEAVING REFLECTING 6 boundary spanning PRACTICES{ }
  13. 13. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Buffering Define Boundaries SAFETY The state of psychological security that develops when boundaries are defined and maintained Example: Demarcate clear roles, then filter the information, people and resources that flow across boundaries
  14. 14. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Reflecting Understand Boundaries RESPECT The state of intergroup awareness and positive regard that develops when groups understand both their similarities and differences Example: Foster perspective-taking across groups to surface assumptions and increase knowledge exchange
  15. 15. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Connecting Suspend Boundaries TRUST The state of mutual confidence and intergroup integrity that develops when boundaries are suspended and new relationships built
 Example: Bridge disconnected people and groups to foster cross-organizational collaboration
  16. 16. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Mobilizing Reframe Boundaries COMMUNITY A state of belonging, ownership, and accountability that develops when boundaries are reframed and collective action taken
 Example: Craft shared symbols, icons or stories that represent who “we” are and galvanize common purpose © 2010 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Weaving Interlace Boundaries INTERDEPENDENCE A state of mutual dependence and collective learning that develops when boundaries are interlaced within a larger whole Example:Tap group differences and act on commonalities to develop innovative solutions © 2010 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. Transforming Cross-Cut Boundaries REINVENTION The state of renewal, alternative futures, and emergent possibilities that develops when intergroup boundaries are cross-cut in new directions
 Example: Create sustained space for group boundaries to blend, shift, change in positively, transformative ways
  19. 19. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. REFLECTING MOBILIZING TRANSFORMING BUFFERING CONNECTING WEAVING REFLECTING 6 boundary spanning PRACTICES{ }
  20. 20. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. REFLECTING COMMUNITY REINVENTION SAFETY TRUST INTERDEPENDENCE RESPECT 6 boundary spanning OUTCOMES{ }
  21. 21. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. REFLECTING INSPIRING RESULTS{ } Solve problems Develop innovative solutions Change and transform organizations* *
  22. 22. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. SO WHAT are the implications?
  23. 23. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. What are the skills that boundary spanners must master?
  24. 24. © 2009 Center for Creative Leadership. All Rights Reserved. How can you improve the delivery of Effective Feedback across Boundaries? What is the role of effective communication and feedback in boundary spanning?

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