Working Wider


Behavioral Change Lags Technology in the New Public Square

Starting with web sites, then blogs and now social networks, the Internet provides a virtual and expansive version of the old public square.  Web sites replace the colonial homes and stores that surround it.  If Thomas Paine were alive today, “Common Sense,” would be posted on a blog rather than the square’s bulletin board.  Social [...]

New & Emerging Control Paradigms

If our corporate control structures were uncooked spaghetti, dropping them into the wider environment softens them like boiling water.  Working wider, requires us to challenge the central premise of corporate hierarchy: control. Our mental reflexes are so tuned to hierarchical control that imagining a world without it is difficult.  Corporations and Congress are quick to [...]

Power the Ecosystem with Thought Leadership

As work moves from deep inside organizations to their edges and beyond, executives are called upon to establish a leadership presence that reaches out into the ecosystem. This requires a different set of skills as the ecosystem operates by rules far afield from those inside the corporation. Familiar structures such as internal objectives, roles, company [...]

Wide and Worthwhile Intersections

The  World Economic Forum was created in 1971 by Klaus Schwab.    The motto of the WEF is “entrepreneurship in the global public interest.” Since it’s founding, it has grown into the pre-eminent forum for global leaders in industry and government to come together to explore issues effecting our global society.  The 2010 annual meeting has [...]

Overcoming Outdated Control Mindsets with Social Networking

Organizations are like icebergs.  The formal aspects of organization, roles, hierarchy, signing authority, rules, etc., are the 2/5 above the water line.  The 3/5 below the waterline is where the real work gets done through informal relationships supported by implicit norms and culture. Just as drunks are prone to look for their lost keys under [...]

iPad Widens Apple’s Product Platform

Apple’s new iPad is testimony to the leverage companies’ can harvest from product platforms. The iPad literally widens the iPhone which enlarged the iPod.  The iTunes store made it easy to download music.  Now iBooks will bring books and periodicals to the iPad.  Each product leverages a focused set of technologies and business processes from [...]

How to Encourage Expansive Thinking

Stress accentuates our most basic fears and predispositions.  When Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was asked what he’s learned about leadership during the recent financial crisis, he said, “I learned about the importance of making sure that everyone in the organization interprets his job or her job expansively…People can get trapped by their context.” When [...]

New Citizenship Model Replaces Heroic Leadership

Everyone loves a great hero story.  The problem is that heroes rarely act alone.  Working wider rejects the heroic leader model not because it isn’t emotionally compelling but because it’s increasingly irrelevant.  When working across wider boundaries, it’s the citizens that rule.  The problem there is we think so much about leadership that we undervalue [...]

Change Quickly…but Calmly

A core premise of Working Wider is that the external environment moves and morphs faster than strategy and internal work practices.  In coping, leaders call for consecutive, rapid changes that seek to be responsive but are perceived as hyper-reactive and inefficient as the TSA’s recent response to the so-called “underwear bomber”.  The challenge is to [...]

Building Swift Trust

One of the challenges working wider brings is that for most of the time and most of the people, you’re not physically present.  This takes us right to the heart of the working wider challenge:  how do you extend your influence when you’re not there? Influence starts with trust.  Without trust, only fools take initiative [...]

Working Wider Starts With a Cause

Perhaps the most dramatic change leaders face when working wider is that nearly everything they relied on to get results inside the organization (e.g. clear vision, goals, values, operating norms, clear roles, process excellence, etc.) fades or even impedes progress when working at the edge or beyond. Inside the firm, these factors create alignment and [...]