Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Collaborative Leadership - Going underground!

Draining my renewable energy
After a frustrating four months we appear to have an air source heating system at our house which effectively (and we hope efficiently) powers our heating and hot water. The process of specification, installation and commissioning of this new "state of the art" renewable energy system has been a long and arduous process to endure. It's been a classic case of the need for the leaders of the manufacturer, supplier and installation teams to demonstrate collaborative leadership.
In the book by David Archer and Alex Cameron, "Collaborative Leadership - How to succeed in an interconnected world" the authors state that collaborative leadership is "about delivering results across boundaries"

Points of Interdependence
I recommend that the leaders involved in our heating system sit down and discuss how they can work collaboratively in the future to save time, energy and stress for their teams and their customers. A
few concepts from Archer and Cameron's book are useful to any leader in today's interconnected world. 
I was amazed to read in Archer and Cameron's book that the management of London underground is organised around the different tube lines, so the people who work on the Jubilee line are managed by a different organisation than say the Victoria line. This is fine for most of the time, but at an interchange station - Green Park, for example staff need to know how the Jubilee, Victoria and Piccadilly lines are running and need to be kept up to date on all three. This point of interdependence is critical because if a breakdown occurs somewhere along one of the lines, trains and stations start to get very crowded and a point of interdependence comes into play - the platform edge.
The platform edge is one of the points at greatest risk to the system for obvious reasons - a packed commuter train opening its doors at a station which is also packed with commuters could have serious implications.  So therefore leaders need to work out what are their own points of interdependence and what needs to be communicated, when and how between partnerships. So, it's a good idea to pinpoint your own"Green Parks" and know where your potential "platform edges" lie in order to focus management time and effort and where you can leave (and trust) individual partners to do their own thing well.

A final thought from the book, in a letter from jail in 1963, Martin Luther King wrote "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly"

Drained of all energy
Unfortunately, I am writing this dressed in two fleeces and a woolly hat as our underfloor heating system is still not working - apparently it's a commmunication failure somewhere in the system....

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