My childhood home was a place for friends to meet.
The Norwegian army taught me that the toughest challenges could only be solved by working together.
As an entrepreneur, I learned that cross-functional expertise is the main key to innovation and value creation.
Regardless of where you are in life, value creation is always about creating arenas in which to connect people and set knowledge in motion.
For my PhD work, I studied just how critical relational capital is for innovation, competitiveness, engagement and trust in increasingly
distributed organizations. Internally in the organization, as well as externally with customers and partners.
I researched a global telecom company with the majority market shares in 14 countries. With network data from all their global business units, we uncovered a massive lack of cross-border flow of information and expertise. The corporation then plugged these network insights into simple tools and successfully boosted engagement, product innovation and collaboration across units, professional roles and areas of expertise. It aided the corporation in its move from holding company to a global company.
I have since had the privilege to apply the same network leadership approach to enhancing the performance of local companies, clusters, municipalities, and state agencies. 10 years as Associate Professor at BI Business School in Oslo strengthened my belief in connecting knowledge across domains and cultures.
Now, the pandemic has forced us to
work in new ways. For many organizations, knowledge-flow is quickly decreasing, with a reduction in the serendipitous meetings so important to innovation and growth. At the same time, most people work longer hours (Microsoft, 2020) and evenings (BCG, 2020) and feel more productive (Hansen, 2020) with a better work-life balance.
Leaders and employees accustomed to more traditional leadership models based on hierarchy and clear chains-of-command are struggling to adapt and calling for new tools and philosophies tailored to understand networks.
The field of Network Leadership lets leaders master the distributed organization and leverage the positive effects of the remote work era to secure better knowledge flow, productivity, innovation, engagement, trust, and growth.
In these challenging times, more than ever the lesson of my childhood still holds true: Good things happen only when you connect the right people and facilitate your networks.
Good reading and stay connected!
Jan Taug, PhD, CEO and Founder, JOIN21
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