Sep 27

Shared Leadership – A model for Successful Mastering of Future and Global Challenges

Michael Nothdurft
Michael Nothdurft is a Trainer, Consultant and Coach since 2009. With more than 37 years of leadership experience he supports organziations and people on their way.

I enjoyed the last 500 days!

I have been member of the Leadership Vision Team of an organization that is offering to people, companies and organizations trainings and consulting how to navigate successfully and in a sustainable way in a world of increasing change requirements.

As a Co-Owner of the Genuine ContactTM program, I am interested that this program is becoming an international brand. In this community we are meeting often online, as we have members all over the globe. We do have a program director for administration and general issues; we contacted her from time to time; but if she has been involved, she was a normal team member – everyone is equal.

Each team-member “burned” for this project. We had a clear goal: we wanted a strategic plan for our community and each of us took responsibilty for it.

“Shared leadership will be successful if everyone involved “burns” for the subject and power is not an issue. Especially in a virtual environment shared leadership can make things much easier.”

Shared leadership will be successful if everyone involved “burns” for the subject and power is not an issue. Especially in a virtual environment shared leadership can make things much easier.

Some of us wanted to create a strategic plan for this organization and we looked for people who would like to work this out. So we created with a team of less than 10 people a proposal. Due to our community rules this project had to be approved and we received the o.k. in a very special decision taking process that is commun in our community. We call it “Five to Fold”. This process is not a fast one, but everyone involved has the chance to ask questions for clarification first and make some statements in a second round. Afterwards the proposal can be modified by the sponsor. In the voting process we have 6 possibilities – from full support to veto.

This process is amazing, as it creates a high degree of openess; but if the proposal is accepted it will be supported by everyone.

It has been defined from the beginning that this process will be done practicing shared leadership.

We started and outlined the frame of work and timeframe.

Everyone who wanted to share had the chance to participate in a training for strategic planning.

We used this training as a guideline and alligned everyone in the team. We had the same understanding, same wordings and definitions.

In the first months during the alignment phase some of the teammembers decided to leave.

So we ended up with 6 to 7 people as the core leaders (from New Zealand, USA, Canada, Sibiria, Germany and Sweden).

In our virtual online meetings we discussed the content and from time to time we formed subgroups.

Everyone did the things they are best in or what they would like to learn. We often followed our hearts; not the brain only.

The degree of activity of everyone changed from time to time, but we always had someone to take the lead and invite the team for a meeting. In our meetings we always could create a high level of energy and motivation.

We selected our meeting times as carefull as possible. So many different time zones; but due to the high energy involved we could manage it.

After 1.5 years we have our strategic plan ready and now we are in the phase to present it our community.

What has been my learning?

To create a strategic plan and strategic map for a global organization has been a challenge. As a “Genuine Contact Professional” I have learned to listen carefully; we are extremely open and honest to each other. The competence of empatic and deeplistening is one of the key competencies for modern leaders.

I learned that it will need more time to agree on global strategy for a global organization; but it is possible and the alignement to this strategy can be done if you are open for communication, answer questions, reflect on our standpoints and sometimes modify or even change them.

We could create a strategic plan, a concentrated strategic map that will be presented in at least 4 continents within the nexyt months.

Diversity is an important element for organizational development and we could experience it live.

“Shared leadership and diversity in combination is even much more efficient and can create new insights and results.”

Shared leadership and diversity in combination is even much more efficient and can create new insights and results.

The different angles of view, our different life experience, our professions that made us productive. We had members with special know-how and we enjoyed learning from each other. So this project has been an inspiring learning journey for all of us. And we could find out that we could cooperate as a team or teams for real customers as our competencies are really synergetic.

Shared leadership will work if we do not compete who is the best and who will be the single most important leader. Our goal has been to serve the community first and to do everything to support them. And we trusted the wisdom of the many.

I learned that there are other experts out there with special knowledge. Knowing and understanding the same goal, I could rely on them; I knew they are doing the right things in the right way. We had shared leadership and therefore we could also share our stress.

And all of us became a much deeper understanding of strategic approaches.

Out of these 6 or 7 people I know only 2 of them personally. Nevertheless a deep level of trust has been created in the virtual environment and it is stable. I am looking forward to meet these people somewhere in the future; hopefully this time will come.

At least for virtual organizations, and their number will increase in the future, shared leadership will be a good model to start with.

If you are burning for an issue find some partners and go for it.

In shared leadership it will be much easier; it is fun and a huge learning journey.

You will enjoy it. Give it a try!

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 01:00 and is filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Resources, Leadership, Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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  1. This is a great story of how you can work together, using the collective wisdom to create amazing results. What Michael does not share in this story is that this also requires the use of collaborative methods for the meetings and software allowing everyone to participate. It is the same here as with IRL meetings, you need more than a room with chairs and tables. You are better off with a room with no tables and instead a good participative process such as Open Space Technology or Whole Person Process Facilitation, both of them now modified for the virtual space we often operate in.