This commences a new series of articles mostly on issues concerning Australia.
The first article to be posted deals, however, with matters I have taken up before: effective organisations and responsible governance.
Later articles will deal with a wider range of issues than previously as well as subjects such as the politics of education.
Being business-like: better governance and leadership
I have previously noted the article by Lynda Gratton & Sumantra Ghoshal entitled, Improving the Quality of Conversations, published in Organizational Dynamics (Vol. 31/3, p 209-223, 2002). It commences, “Conversations lie at the heart of managerial work, yet the vast majority of conversations in companies are dehydrated, ritualised talk that adds little value.”
Gratton and Ghoshal’s research categorised conversations based on two dimensions, “analytical rationality” and “emotional authenticity” and illustrated how companies like BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Ogilvy, One Worldwide and UBS Warburg Ltd. have improved the quality of conversations in their organisations by enhancing one or both of these dimensions.
They observe, “For top-level leaders, the challenge of shaping curious and creative learning organisations lies in creating a social context for good talk: one in which questioning and doubt are institutionalised; space and time are created for rich and deep conversations to occur; big, broad questions are legitimised; and some rules and forums exist to stimulate creative dialogue.”
In many organisations too much time is spent thinking only about other organisations similar to one’s own. Many useful lessons are to be found, however, in other domains. One might gain a great deal more from discussions around the collapse of financial institutions as depicted in the film “Margin Call” than in attending yet another seminar where the CEO of the XYZ Art Gallery talks of how they increased visitor numbers and improved their exhibition space.