Working Wider


Is there anything else I can help you with?

While in the process of writing several more substantive pieces, my disk drive crashed. This started a whirlwind of customer service calls.  As I get back to the other pieces, I couldn’t resist a short piece that summarizes an all-too-familiar customer experience. How many times have you called customer service, didn’t get the problem solved [...]

Leadership Style:
The Horses, Muffins and Birds Assessment

It’s springtime here in California.  Winter’s downpours are now misty showers pushed aside by the sun.  The pollen count is high as the early daffodils give way to other blooms.  The birds and bees are getting back to work. Spring triggered a distant but vivid memory.  It was springtime some thirty years ago when I [...]

The New Citizenship Model Revisited:
Building on Lessons from Facebook and IBM

Building on a previous post, I advocate implementing a wider reaching set of mutual “citizen” obligations will increase competitiveness over traditional employer-employee cultures. “When working across wider boundaries, it’s the citizens that rule.  The problem there is we think so much about leadership that we undervalue the role of citizens.  Working wider depends on a [...]

Leading by Attraction:
Collaborative Leadership Strategies for The Wider World

Power and position fail to deliver when collaborating across boundaries: internal and external. In response, leaders are increasingly called upon to lead by attraction.  While attraction is intuitively easy to understand, the principles and practices are not well-defined.  This essay offers a framework for understanding attraction and putting it to use. In my lifetime, I’ve [...]

The Attractive Platform Strategy
of Facebook, Amazon and Apple

What’s the most critical challenge facing CEO’s in 2010?  According to 1,500 CEO’s interviewed for IBM’s 2010 Global CEO study, the answer is instilling creativity into their organizations. I’d suggest they consider creating an attractive platform that potentially accesses  thousands of creative people from outside their organization. By shaping their businesses around an attractive platform, [...]

Grooming for the Next Wave:
The Citizen Leader

Most leadership books don’t address in detail how to lead across boundaries because that used to be the job of a few top executives. Today, middle managers and individual contributors regularly find themselves in leadership roles that cross groups, companies and ecosystems. This is what I call working wider. Working wider means that formal power [...]

Working Wider Changes Who You Should Hire

Analysis Group Economics (AG) is a Boston based consultancy that provides economic analysis to lawyers for securing or defending damage awards.  AG’s numbers have to convince a jury which means the numbers as well as the authority and explanation behind them must be clear and beyond reproach.  To meet this challenge, AG has surrounded their [...]

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 [...]

Widen Your Reach Using Transformative Customers

For a child, diving into a swimming pool is a scary proposition.  Most parents position themselves 5 feet inside the pool and coax the child to dive to them.  Rarely will you see a parent come up behind a nervous child and just shove them in.  Pulling evokes sustainable change better than pushing. Companies can [...]

Drive Innovation by Widening Your Boundaries

In a well-written article in this month’s Wired, Jonah Lehrer describes how important thinking wider is for innovation.  More importantly, he underscores how inherently difficult it is even for the best scientists in the world. Lehrer points out that science is a deeply frustrating pursuit.  Over 50% of the time, experiments fail.  Scientists define failure [...]

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 [...]