Activity 12 69
Activity 12
Managing Sideways
Purpose
To illustrate that the traditional way of managing an organization based on hier-
archical reporting relationships may not always be the most effective way to lead
Description
An illustration of how to manage sideways in an organization is presented and
discussed.
Time
45 minutes
Resources
Handouts 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3
Presentation
1. Begin the activity by explaining the following to participants:
Y Managing sideways may sound more like something that might cause you
to be off balance than an effective management technique.
Y But managing sideways can help you discover ways to achieve your busi-
ness objectives and help your organization reach its greatest potential.
Y Managing sideways can help you improve communications, teamwork,
resource utilization, and synergy in your organization.
2. Distribute or display Handout 12.1 and explain the illustration shown as
follows:
Y Most leaders view their responsibilities vertically, tending to think in
terms of whom they report to and who reports to them. This is what a
typical manager thinks of as his or her area(s) of responsibility and
accountability. There is nothing incorrect in this view of a manager’s role
in an organization. After all, there must be boundaries for everyone’s
span of control. Even the leader of an entire business can pay attention to
only a finite amount of factors that influence the organization’s success.
(continued)
70 25 Legendary Leadership Activities
Activity 12 (continued)
Y Typically, a cascading goals alignment exercise takes place annually in an
organization to ensure that the leader of the function’s goals, or a subset
thereof, is incorporated in each direct report’s and their direct report’s
annual goals.
Y In this way the leader of the function ensures that his or her accountabili-
ties are the focus of everyone in every level on his or her reporting chart.
Y Unfortunately, this review of accountabilities often is limited to the verti-
cal, not horizontal, reporting relationships in an organization.
Y But what about all the things that fall between these vertical views of
accountabilities and responsibilities? There are many things that can tend
to “fall between the cracks” of these vertical slices, causing tremendous
waste and inefficiencies to exist.
Y This causes millions, even billions, of dollars to be lost as common goals
and potential synergies between these vertical slices of the organization
go without attention or action.
Y Who is in the best position to see these lost opportunities? The answer is
that anyone in the organization has the potential to realize these oppor-
tunities if they look in all directions rather than just their own vertical
reporting relationships. It’s all a matter of looking in the right places.
Y A very practical way to begin looking for these lost opportunities is to look
for horizontal alignment in your organization.
3. Distribute or display Handout 12.2 and explain the illustration shown as fol-
lows:
Y Horizontal alignment refers to all the potential synergy that exists across
the organization as opposed to only thinking in terms of vertical reporting
relationships and accountabilities.
Y To begin finding this horizontal alignment in your organization, start by
reviewing the accountabilities of each function or area in your organiza-
tion.
Y By managing horizontally rather than exclusively vertically, you can find
synergies that otherwise would remain undiscovered.
Y There is a tremendous amount of positive momentum and gains that can
be achieved by this broader perspective of the organization.
Y Goals typically become a natural driving force in an organization.
Y Leaders provide the resources to achieve and maintain goals particularly
when they are the ones who initiated these directives.
(continued)

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