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Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach by Richard J. Heaslip

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Chapter 13Developing Programmatic Leadership Competencies

One needs only to visit the business sections of a local bookstore, or to peruse the latest list of bestselling books, to realize that the public has a seemingly insatiable appetite for new insights on the nature of leadership. It is tempting to speculate that the number of books available in the field is a sign that we know so very much about it, but it could be argued that the opposite is true. Our literary discourse about the nature of leadership might be equally well considered as evidence that we know far too little about it—that there is no singular perspective (or collection of perspectives) that is capable of satisfying all of our needs. Each of those leadership books might be considered to bear witness to our continuing search for perspectives that ring true and clear to our own particular needs.

While collecting the perspectives of stakeholders for this book, I have had many opportunities to discuss the nature of programmatic leadership with executives, programmaticists, and other organizational stakeholders. Over that period, I too have searched for key perspectives on leadership—and in particular, on “programmatic leadership.” My search for a singular perspective that unlocks the secrets of programmatic leadership is also ongoing. It has, for the most part, been a pragmatic search, based on a fundamental observation that seems to be shared by many executives: Leadership is a bit like pornography; it is difficult ...

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