GLABB: I have been (slowly) working my through an attempt to help you understand how I see the world through my acronym GLABB. Last week we discussed working across boundaries and the implications of doing so. But there was more… so I am continuing this week with an expansion of what it means to me to work across boundaries and some suggestions to help you do so successfully.

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Working across boundaries means many things to many people… It can mean:  Continue Reading…

GLABB – a term that defines who I am professionally to a large extent. If you have followed my posts on this topic so far, you know where I stand on the term Global… as well as Leadership.  Today, let’s talk about what it means to work Across Boundaries…. because the reality is that it can mean many things to many people.

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In my world, working across boundaries is about lateral thinking… really comprehending that you are a single piece of a much larger puzzle and that your piece has a significant impact on the larger whole. It also means having the capacity to move across those boundaries to absorb knowledge from one context or discipline and apply it back into your area of expertise to create a free-flow of information - increasing your knowledge and the potential to “create a better mousetrap”. Think Leonardo DaVinci:

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Working across boundaries, more than anything else, means working together to solve problems that cannot be solved ~ or easily solved ~ by a single person, department or business unit.  It is critical that you, as a leader, consider the overall system and expect every person across every department to work together to figure out how you can improve the overall experience for customers both internally and externally – the rest will naturally follow. The reality (whether you want to acknowledge it or not) is that you are part of a system… a network… an interconnected structure involving many people and multiple linkages.  Without each component part of the whole, there is little to offer the customer… or the market.

Despite the necessity of collaboration,  organizations are complex – engaging across boundaries can present several challenges. Because Networks are inter-organizational, cross-departmental and interpersonal, different stakeholders across that network have differing:

  • Points of view (by default)
  • objectives and missions
  • micro-cultures and perspectives
  • methods of operation – purpose, policies, procedures and systems.
  • financial models (i.e. cost centers versus profit centers)
  • degrees of power
  • challenges/opportunities
  • decision-making capacities
  • Sources of conflict within network and with the customer

Despite the challenges, continually improving organizational performance is what matters and that can only happen with collaboration across both horizontal and vertical boundaries. It is critical for your company to get everyone working together. We all know how important it is to work effectively across organizational boundaries, however multi-functional, multi-cultural, multi-level teamwork is unnatural. The innate tendency of organizations is to optimize locally within a business unit or department – rather than optimizing for the global customer experience or enterprise acceleration. Too often, the sum of the parts doesn’t create a high-performing whole. Getting people to collaborate across boundaries typically requires a crisis… or aggressive edicts from organizational leadership (which can also backfire if not delivered appropriately).

Suppose for a moment you are the Chief Operations Officer of a multinational company and you want to improve the experience of customers worldwide, while also reducing the cost of overall operations. Who do you need to involve in improving the process?

Product Development creates the product…

Operations produces it…

Sales sells it…

Legal reviews it and creates the contracts…

Implementation Management implements it…

Customer Relations maintains the relationship after the sale…

Finance invoices and tracks financial progress…

BUT the customer will ultimately pay for the product and decide if you are a good partner overall.

In a typical scenario, each department is a separate business with its own objectives, business practices, culture, and information systems.  However, without all the component parts coming together to deliver the product or service, there is nothing to offer the market.  As a leader facilitating people working effectively across boundaries you need to understand, accommodate and help people understand that:

  • Departments and their people have ongoing, critical interdependencies that require cross-boundary interactions on a regular basis
  • It is natural that every department or business unit will have both common and competing goals – they must find common ground and “third best ways” of operating for organizational and customer benefit
  • As part of a global workplace, your people work in an elastic environment – groups will expand and contract as needed
  • Members need to be both participative and authoritative, depending on the circumstance
  • People need to see both the forest and the trees – understanding the system as a whole is critical, but they also must consider the people and components within the system in order to be successful
  • They must balance advocacy and inquiry, again depending on circumstance

If your organization truly wants to maximize shareholder value (and be around in another 10 years), continually working across boundaries to improve organizational results and the customer experience is the answer – which will drive competitive advantage, revenue and contract viability.

With the inherent challenges  (and opportunities) that come with working across boundaries:

How can you, as a leader,  leverage a multi-functional, multi-level, multi-cultural network of people to optimize overall operations… rather than optimizing each business units objectives?

How can you create an environment that embraces  the objective of cost reduction, while at the same time “thrilling” the customer?

And how do you do this when changes to the system may create winners and losers – internally and externally?

 

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

~Leonardo da Vinci

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you view working across boundaries.

Stay tuned later this week – we will discuss the answers to these questions!

Do you need an expert to help you in your global organization? Contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com.

A Gift For The New Year

December 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

Hi – I hope you are all enjoying the holidays… and looking forward to the new year! Yes, it is that time of year again… we all need to start looking ahead and thinking about what we would like to accomplish next year.  Have you started thinking about next year and what you will accomplish? We all know traditional goal setting doesn’t work… and New Year’s Resolutions? Enough said! Did you know:

  • 70%  of organizational change initiatives FAIL
  • 83% of people have no set goals. While 14% have goals, they do not write them down. The remaining 3% who do write their goals are ten times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.
  • 92% of people FAIL to achieve their New Years resolutions, with more than 64% quitting before the end of the first month!

Because I have worked in the corporate world for so long, I have definitely seen more initiative fail and more people fail to meet their objectives than I care to think about. I tend to wonder… If people are not committed to achieving those goals that their paychecks depend on, what is happening in their personal lives? Many years ago, I developed a process to ensure that not only did I meet my goals and objectives (personal and professional alike), I could also help my employees to achieve success in their work… and in their lives.  Today, I use the same process with my clients around the world. My method has been proven over and over again and I would like to introduce you to a way to achieve success in every area of your life in a sustained, dependable way. Studies show, repeatedly, how valuable goal setting can be when it is actually followed through on. In fact, one thing all successful people have in common is that they set, follow through… and achieve the goals they set. I created this e-guide to help you discover a new way of thinking that will enable you to meet your goals and improve your life… in any area. Please take this opportunity to download this FREE e-guide that will help you to think about goal-setting in a new, more inclusive way. GoalsEGuide_Coverv2

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If you follow this process, you WILL achieve your goals and obtain unimaginable success in the coming year… and beyond. I would love to hear about the success you are sure to achieve!

Best Regards, Sheri

GLABB - something not only at the very foundation of my company, but of who I am as an individual.  Having spent over 25 years in global business, I feel somewhat qualified to speak from my experience and knowledge as I have worked with and for some of the most well-known global companies around the world leading Global Service Operations.  As I continue to talk with clients through the years about the true essence of global leadership (GL) and how it translates into real business results, I am continually intrigued by the variations and perceptions associated with the term Leadership.  I started this series describing my definition of the word “Global“… so now what do I mean by “Leadership”, in context? An overused, ambiguous term to be sure… However, when used purposefully, the word leadership is very distinctive… and very powerful.

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What Is Global Anyway?

October 15, 2014 — 1 Comment

I was recently speaking at a conference and I was asked about a term that is near and dear to who I am – Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders. You will see (or hear) it in almost everything I do – you will hear me refer to it when I speak publically… in general conversations… and when I write. You see it on my blog header… on our membership site (The Global LABB or GLABB)… and on our corporate site, as well.  Although I refer to “Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders” frequently, this was the first time I can remember that an audience member stood up and asked about LABB in a public forum. I found this so interesting – it is so much a core part of my being… yet I realized I had never stopped to actually define it for others outside of myself.  I have been unfair. I will try to remedy my faux pas through not only explaining my terminology as a core component of myself, but also by defining each piece of it from my view of the world over the next few weeks.

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So, I will begin by talking a little about history and about the definition, my definition, of Global…

Those of you who have followed me from the early days know I have had a very unique and fortuitous background. My “global career” actually started at a fairly tender age. My father, a Fire Chief, began moving our family around the world – exposing us to language, food and all manner of culture when I was just twelve years old (and I was none to appreciative at the time!). We did not typically live with other Americans – we lived with the locals… as the locals (again, not perceived as a plus). In Spain, we played with the local children in the abandoned plaza de toros and ate in the local ventas, while in the Philippines we hiked deep into the jungle with the aborigines, exchanged candy for hand-made weapons and attended indigenous festivals in the local villages… just a few examples. I unknowingly learned what it meant to be a global citizen and what it was to See The Forest Through The Trees… forming my earliest impressions of local innovation, and how, when taken in context, it can be leveraged for global knowledge. I understood and integrated with the local flavor, while realizing the value of global scalability. Funny how things you learn come back into focus again and again throughout your life if you pay attention… Continue Reading…

Google… On Steroids

September 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

When my daughter, Savannah, was in elementary school she was quite the know it all and acquired the nickname “Google” because she would start nearly every sentence with, “Did you know…” followed by whatever fact fell from her rather significant brain and out of her very pretty, little mouth. Still today, she is not so different… if occasionally more contained.

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As I think about our world today, how we are made up, and the rapidly expanding global marketplace, perhaps we (a little like Savannah) have become Google incarnate:

Google is a vast pool of knowledge – broader and deeper than most of us can even begin to fathom – while, as humans, we are a vast pool of diversity and complexity that spans the globe. We take in information, aggregate it… and determine how we will present it (or not). That is not to say we necessarily understand it…

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