Global Collaboration, part 7: Am I ready for the Flat Army?

flat army
Illustration: Faruk Ahmed

During my holidays I read The Flat Army, by Dan Pontefract. A book that is both very stimulating and somewhat depressing. Stimulating because it contains a lot of relevant thoughts and concepts, which can be applied immediately. Somewhat depressing because it highlights my own deficiencies, and it raises the question: will I ever be able to be a good soldier (or maybe an officer…) in the Flat Amy? The book is too rich to do justice in one blog post. I want to focus on the Collaborative Leader Action Model (CLAM).

First two definitions out of the book I like:

Collaboration:The unfettered allowance and encouragement of employees to both contribute and consume knowledge, insight or ideas with any direct relationship via professional or personal networks to achieve an outcome“.

Culture:Organisational culture is defined by one criterion, and one only: an organisation’s culture is defined by the manner in which employees are treated by their direct leader“.

The Collaborative Leader Action Model is a simple straightforward model, which is best applied to more complex projects, where collaboration makes sense.

Checklist: are you a collaborative leader?

I made checklist and rated myself (looking at recent projects I led) on a 10-point scale (1=very poor, 10=world class). Am I a true collaborative leader? Am I ready to join the Flat Army?
The questionnaire has 8 questions, so the minimum score is 8, the maximum score 80.

Connect (with others)

1. Did you connect with others who might be impacted? (4)

Consider (all options)

2. Did you consider all the options with the right players? (5)

Communicate (the decision and the action plan)

3. Did you communicate the decision and the action plan to all the relevant stakeholders? (5)

Create (the result)

4. Do you immerse yourself in the process of execution? (8)
5. Were roles and responsibilities accurately depicted for the entire team? (6)

Confirm (the result met the target)

6. Did you perform a clinical audit on the first two stages of CLAM? (3)
7. Did you assess if the various end-goal targets were achieved as set out in the communication phase? (6)

Congratulate (through feedback and recognition)

8. Did you foster a culture of appreciation and recognising the behaviour rather than just the outcome? (7)

My total score (self assessment, so probably too positive): 44, this makes an average of 5.5….
Some of the feedback I got: “You are not ready for the Flat Army yet. Your biggest development area is to improve the first phases. You probably do not connect enough to others in the first phase of the project. Like many leaders, you jump to solving and acting on a problem, task or opportunity before stopping to think who you should connect with first. You are too much focused on speed. The first stage of the CLAM is to connect with others before going down on a path of regret. It’s the way in which leaders can immediately break down hierarchies and nurture a collaborative culture across business units and teams. It’s the initial step leaders should  take to open up the realm of possibilities and to avoid duplication of effort“.

Work to be done, thank you Dan Pontefract.


Illustration by Faruk Ahmed

The illustrations for the blog posts in the series ‘Global Collaboration’ are made for ‘The HR Trend Institute’ by various artists from around the world.

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