#140 – Leaders Manage the Boundaries

There are a lot of paradoxes in organizational life. One is that organizations can be both resilient and fragile. It is a leader’s job to maximize the resilience and minimize the fragility. When I am at the helm of an organization, I keenly feel the responsibility to “protect” it from harm. Of course, not being omnipotent, I have only a certain degree of influence, but I take it very seriously. Part of that means to provide a safe and healthy work environment. It also means to manage the boundaries, the places where the organization interfaces with the external environment: other entities, regulatory agencies, suppliers and vendors, and even customers and the general public. That involves providing whatever preparation, training and support is needed for those who work at the boundaries.

Food for Thought ~

Leaders cannot insulate their people or their organizations from external influences, but we can do our best to protect them from danger and yet, at the same time, expose them to reality. Leaders can’t stop change or eliminate risks, but we can prepare people for changes and challenges. In other words, we can help them to be resilient.

Question for the day ~

How does your organization handle its boundaries with the external world? Are you providing leadership in preparing for change, anticipating external challenges, and developing resilience?

The Labor Day holiday is an opportunity to appreciate progress. A turn of the (previous) century industrialist would hardly recognize today’s workplace.