We live in a constantly changing business world. A world characterized by an increasing variety of collaborations, both inside organizations as well as between organizations. Collaborations can be committed for the long term, but can also be flexible and agile, or even short term focused. Collaborations can be bi-lateral or can be between multiple partners.
In these changing times, forms of collaboration shift and definitions in collaboration are shifting as well. Traditionally when we spoke about a strategic alliance, we automatically connected a long term view to it.
Nowadays in a changing business world, new business models and business concepts arise. Companies can now, by design, have a short lifetime; pop-up stores for example only have a short-term focus. In this case, the term “strategic” isn’t automatically connected to a long-term view anymore. A strategic collaboration in these new business models might only exist for the duration of the project, while it is still of strategic importance for the project to succeed.
Altogether these changing dynamics in the collaborative business world require an adjusted style of leadership to succeed. Leadership nowadays is about building partnerships, being trustworthy and reliable and about influence, rather than about hierarchy.
Whether a collaboration takes form in an internal team or between organizations, in that collaboration, leadership needs to be everywhere. The collective results need to be greater than the sum of its parts. To achieve that, every member needs to take his/her personal ownership and show their personal leadership. It is not about what the collaboration can do for you; it is about what you can do for the collaboration.
In this type of leadership, there is no place for ego, every team member in the collaboration will have his or her speciality that is contributing to the collective results. The role of the overall leader will be to facilitate and to enable the team members to be able to do their work.
You are involved in several collaborations, in several internal teams and possibly with external partners. In every instance, your role will be different, as the setup of the teams and the circumstances are different. Each team will require an adjusted personal leadership to contribute to the results of the collaboration optimally.
Think about it before you attend your team or collaboration meetings this week: what do you specifically do to take ownership and to show your personal leadership in each of the collaborations you are involved in?
Further reading: In “The art of Possibility” Benjamin and Rosamund Zander highlight many aspects of personal leadership, illustrated with many inspiring examples of Ben’s work in orchestrating orchestras and coaching musicians.