Spanning Boundaries within an Organization

 

In a world full of uncertainty and ambiguity, organizations must focus on boundary spanning capabilities in order to effectively function in today’s complex and interdependent business world. A white paper developed by the Center for Creative Leadership surveyed senior executives to identify areas for current and desired state of boundary spanning. This capacity shift within organizations will allow for a more informed, prepared workforce of boundary spanning.

1. Functional/Cross functional

2. Local mindset/Global mindset

3. Generational gaps/Cross generational learning

Focusing on the desired future state of cross functional, global mindset, and a cross generational learning organization involves engagement from everyone in the workforce. As you span boundaries, a decline in borders/barriers to growth can be seen. Moving from functional to cross functional gives individuals not only an increased perspective on how their actions impact others and the organization, but it allows for expanded knowledge and innovative opportunities.

Regardless of where your organization is situated, developing a global mindset from a local mindset expands the understanding and awareness for diversity in cultures and systems and allows for the ability to identify common patterns. Organizational success is linked to the following qualities of global mindset:

– Acting on opportunities despite cultural challenges

– Communication effectiveness across global and local demands

– Best-practice sharing

– Acting on emerging opportunities

– Trust building across cultural settings

Many diversity training programs identify generational differences, but how often is cross generational learning a focus? Similar to utilizing multiple ways of teaching a school-age child, organizations should develop learning strategies for cross generational understanding. With a potential of five generations within the workforce, organizations must focus on developing strategies and learning opportunities for each of the generations.