Your organisation as a community: Key #2 to your transformation

Collaboration is not an option but a necessity to support performance, innovation and efficiency. Whatever your organisational configuration (Mintzberg), whether it is bureaucratic, entrepreneurial, missionary, adhocratic or professional, you will have to improve collaborations if your goal is to turn your organisation into a community. In fact, without collaboration, no ecosystem can survive long enough to accomplish much.

Key #2: Improve your collaborations

The main challenge found out through a survey I conducted in 2016 at the European Commission  is to improve collaboration in the inter-organisational space. This is where it is perceived as the least effective. Let’s call this type of collaboration “cross-collaboration”. It happens when people collaborate in the Around (not within their teams) and in the Outside with external people. In very complex organisations, the Around can be of a great importance.

Why cross-collaboration fails

“Whether we like it or not, we are led to collaborate beyond our working teams with another service, with our publics, with The “Others”. But we are not good at this…”

The results of my survey reflect a major problem in our organisations today. Cross-collaboration can be weak. There are many reasons for this, for instance:

  • This form of collaboration happens in a space where formal authority can be blurred.
  • People maintain a limited network of relationships outside their usual teams.
  • Employees feel that they need to rely heavily on procedures.
  • There is a perceived lack of trust when collaborating outside formal teams.
  • In this inter-organizational space, members need more than ever to show autonomy, and responsibility – which is not the traditional practice of their organisation.

The power of cross-collaboration

Collaboration means that the traditional top-down model “command-and-control” must give room  to a “collaborate-and-connect” horizontal approach. The benefits of cross-collaboration are numerous: breaking silos, ensuring strategic alignment or increasing synergies and efficiencies.

Unleashing the full potential of cross-collaboration

To be successful, a cross-collaboration process needs more players who are involved, creative and empowered. More active players and less followers, using the leaderful approach described in my previous post.

To achieve this objective, managers need to create more opportunities for cross-collaboration in an “enabling” and “empowering” environment. By promoting a permanent process of relationships construction between people (Falzon), they will make sure to develop collaboration opportunities on top of traditional team collaboration.


“In the 21st century, we must build communities in which everyone shares the experience of being a leader, not sequentially but simultaneously and collectively.” (Realin)

In order to help you remove one by one the barriers to cross-collaboration, together with Yves Monsel, we designed a seminar that allows for enhanced and successful collaboration “with others” addressed to all employees. I invite you to contact me here or on LinkedIn should you want more details.

Soon, key #3 will be published here.

Your organisation as a community: Key #1 to your transformation

During these last months, I continued to go deep into the subject of organisational transformation. So I got away again from this blog to dedicate myself to this research project that you know is close to my heart. And I’m finally back with some previews for you.

Community management, collaboration, leaderful or distributed leadership, change management,  Generation Y, digital tools adoption…. All our top modern issues are interconnected. Facing us, the organization of tomorrow is not a pile of teams or projects. It is a community. The community management, which is the focus of my book is actually part of a long transformational process that any organisation must undertake in our increasingly complex world.

On this blog, I am going to share the keys to transform an organisation into a community. I hope you will enjoy this series of posts and I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on the various topics I will present.

These keys also introduce a series of new innovative learning seminars co-developed with a well-known training designer, Yves Monsel. Don’t hesitate to contact me here or on LinkedIn should you want a more detailed preview.

Key n°1 – From Leadership to Leaderful

 Leadership when you hold us

Some leaders tend to make the following assumptions:

  • They are the only ones to do so;
  • They should be up even more;
  • If they do not do it, another person will do it, and they risk losing their power;
  • They must have an answer for everything and for them to say “I do not know” is another way of saying “I am incompetent”;

Is that bad? Yes, if it causes stress for them. And even more, in a complex world where no one is able to hold the knowledge required in all circumstances.

The “leaderful” organisation

Many public and private companies seem to share the same destiny. They work with employees to achieve impossible tasks with too short deadlines assigned by management, which often include less than the nature of the problem. As for the first-line managers, they are often the most overloaded. As a result, employees feel undervalued, underused, and overwhelmed by pervasive labor (busy work) which is often neither productive nor stimulating. The conclusion is obvious: “[…] Leadership is potentially the most desperate problem we face in organisations today. “

Something should change, and change dramatically.

“We need organisations that empower each of their members by giving them the ability and willingness to assume a form of leadership in their relationships with peers, colleagues, customers, suppliers and other partners in ‘organisations’.”


The principles of leaderful

Joseph A. Realin coined the term to describe leaderful which is another vision of the leader and the organisation. He does not claim to have invented the concept, he is just trying to gather under one banner, various approaches.

This is not an approach based on empowerment models or advisory models. This is not a temporary delegation of power by necessity.

“Instead, this approach turns leadership from something that we individually have, to a new paradigm that defines leadership as a collective practice.” 

This is a mutual and shared leadership. Leaderful can be translated by leadership “shared”, “mutual” or “distributed”. It is a letting go rather than a delegation.

Why leaderful?

Whatever the attempts to change the nature of command and the will to better engage employees through quality management, process simplification, learning & development or organisational development, the results will be disappointing. Indeed, as the vertical hierarchical option will not be replaced with a real opportunity to become leaderful, we will continue with some general passivity that, faced with a problem, employees will conclude – you know, I only work here!

“What could be the most leaderful about the manager is not that she takes the reins, but that she encourages others to take them when the situation justifies it. “

Soon, key #2 will be published here.


Why my book on community management

Today, the multiplication of social and collaborative technologies in the workplace leads many employees to optimize their internal and external networks and become community managers, regardless of their primary responsibilities.

The aim of this practical manual is to offer a broader vision of community management skills that social media have emerged in just 10 years. It aims to help implement effective management of communities of people, regardless of the tools used.

Community management will:

  • improve the responsiveness of organizations through more listening to internal and external partners,
  • seek synergies and complementarity beyond the traditional hierarchies and boundaries of the organization,
  • offer communities the opportunity to play a key role in spreading the positive word of mouth and generate innovation.

The implementation of communities, large or small, formal or informal, and their new working methods become a strategic issue in every sector.
This manual published in French by Politeia editions and available here, is aimed at:

  • People who wish to develop their professional practice towards greater openness and participation,
  • People who have the role of managing collaborative projects among groups of internal or external partners (colleagues, customers, etc.).

It will also be useful for communications professionals and for anyone seeking to better seize the opportunities of the web and the sharing economy.

Back soon

If you are wondering why I publish much less posts now, rest assured this is only temporary and I will come back in a few weeks with new posts:

  • I have just written a book in French due out soon and you will be the first to be informed of its release date. This is a practical manual on community management skills published by Politeia editions. I am proud of this achievement, I hope you will enjoy reading it. And as I have lots of projects, I intend to continue writing.
  •  I am following a master in training design and consultancy in France, to develop myself further and discover new learning methods. I have always been keen to return to School, I really enjoy this new challenge. In parallel, I am also following a few moocs in the field of Digital.

This is just to tell you that I take a step back only for – I hope – the better 🙂

Feel free to contact me. I will be very happy to stay in touch.

See you soon.


Close your eyes and imagine that social media no longer exist. Think about what you miss most:

  • Having your say?
  • Reading customer reviews?
  • Getting quick feedback?
  • Asking for help to experts?
  • Connecting with like-minded people?
  • Growing a home-based business?
  • Getting news updates?

On a personal level, social media have become irreplaceable for various reasons. With experience, you have developed your own use, which is different from that of your partner for instance. Your needs are met.

Now think about the specific value social media has brought to your professional lives. Same as before, imagine they no longer exist. What do you miss most?

I suspect it is not so easy for each of you…

Why? Perhaps, you still need proofs that social media can help you in your tasks.

Obviously, if there is a lot of beauty to the stage of the unexpected web, at the end of the day, only “value” counts.

For those of you who are (still!) looking for inspiration, here are some values of social media at work I could notice:

  • Streamlining processes;
  • Reducing workloads;
  • Enlarging human networks;
  • Generating more innovation;
  • Collecting collective intelligence;
  • Providing emotional data.

And if you want solutions to provide similar values to your employees, a recurrent mistake is to consider that IT departments can translate business limitations into IT solutions. In order to initiate a more strategic deployment of social media at work, you need to partner with a digital transformation expert. This person will help business units translate their limitations into needs. Then, he/she will advice IT departments on the specific solutions.

Change in a top-down fashion

Once upon a time change of corporate culture was implemented as requested. It was driven by a mix of external pressure and of internal desire to get a company or institution up-to-date. There was the awareness of an issue, followed by the definition of a vision and the development of a list of actions. It was enough to impose change from top to bottom since everyone was more or less ready to meet the new needs.

Today, change management is more complex. More forces come into play. The change in a top-down fashion no longer works alone to lead to the foundation of a new business culture.

In the face of accelerating changes, staff members have begun to lose confidence in their managers. Too many trials, too many efforts put into never-ending battles. Middle managers suffer from lack of support. Employees have doubts, question governance models. They want to be more than just a part of the change and to play a leading role. Trade unions seem to have lost the battle of the digital age. We also see a clash of generations and cultures. People have different expectations, opposing views on the right rewards and on their responsibilities. Some want discipline back whereas others speak about holacracy.

Society changes fast, faster and faster. Everyone is a media and can create an international company in some clicks. Power seems to have shifted hands. It can no longer be business as usual.

In this new context, one question is in everyone’s minds: how to create a culture of change, a start-up like organisational model?

I am convinced since a while that successful change management in times of turbulence has something to do with influential marketing. This is how you can make sure that desired values and behaviours spread within an organisation.

So, let me ask a few questions which are fundamental to drive change successfully in a modern organisation:

  • Who are your internal influencers today?
  • How do you identify them, and follow their conversations?
  • What tools do you provide so that they can influence better and faster around them?

Take some time to answer these questions, and let’s go back to the topic soon. Until then, for those of you who are already on holiday: ENJOY 🙂