In today's world of business where organizational boundaries are blurry, intense competition dictates rapid change, and complex issues and relationships cut across departments, business units, and even companies, the old hierarchical command-and-control management approach is no longer sufficient. Distributed leadership approaches are necessary and no one individual can do it all.
In fact, an enterprise is more than just the traditional organization. Value today is often created not just within a company, but also across a network of companies. Being able to connect the various components and to work collaboratively within the network is essential to maintaining competitive advantage. Leaders today must be capable of identifying potential partners, initiating and maintaining relationships, resolving conflicts, and reconfiguring their relationships. Cross-Enterprise Leadership is a new model for success in today's world of complexity and ambiguity. Leaders who adopt this approach will be more comfortable dealing with ambiguity, uncertainty, complexity and time pressures, and with creating value through networks of relationships.
Small, domestic, entrepreneurial companies are, by their very nature, cross-enterprise focused. Entrepreneurs will tell you that they live in a world of uncertainty and ambiguity and that they constantly need to adjust on the fly. Equally, large multi-national companies like Wal-Mart, Nestle, or Coca-Cola are inherently complex and issues and relationships cut across functions, levels, geographies, and companies.
Cross-Enterprise Leadership goes beyond a functional perspective to understanding the complexity of business issues from all angles and how they can be integrated, how leaders can rely almost entirely on influence when they may be operating without power or authority, and how they can develop the capacity to make decisions and implement them in an environment filled with uncertainty and complexity. Most managers operate like the traditional orchestra-waiting to do their written part. But there is no tidy score for business today. CEL enables today's leaders to be more like a jazz band, improvising and building off of one another, creating music in real time and in relationship to one another.