Earlier, I mentioned my admiration for Jon Katzenbach on organizational culture. Another person I follow is Rob Cross, who focuses upon social networks (Not social media-but the face to face social networks that all of us work within). I ran across Rob from a trusted senior leader who recommended his work after noting, “the higher you go in an organization, the more your success lies outside of your organization.”
Cross and Katzenbach (May 2012, “The Right Role for Top Teams”) suggest that the most effective teams, especially those within multiple organizational units set themselves up as hubs surrounded by spokes of formal and informal subgroups to address specific issues. Here are three key findings:
- Invest in intentional informal networking: this is enhanced by specifically and intentionally building relationships among different subgroups during formal and ad hoc meetings and events.
- Deal with inevitable tensions and conflicts within the network by focusing on the constituent level (who in which subgroups have investments in a particular course of action and can sabotage certain initiatives who are also well connected to other subgroups).
- Make disciplined choices about when you need subgroups with real-team accountability and focus, and when the clarity and speed of a single-leader unit is better;
What are some tactics and strategies you have found effective in working with people outside of your immediate organization?