Why does it Matter that we Work Together with our Colleagues?
A reflection on the strategic essence of teamwork amongst managers
Mashupye Ratale Kgaphola (PhD)
Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has arguably undergone some change, or rather several changes, over the past four years, in particular. Not least, the University has in this period been able to develop a strategic plan that should guide its future development over the next decade or so. A number of other changes and developments have also begun to take shape within the institution, some less dramatic than others.
The one most visible change that has occurred at MUT has been in the composition of the senior and executive leadership team of the University. Based on first principles of logic alone, it should be unsurprising that the convergence of both a new strategy and a revamped management team should create new and even unpredictable dynamics. These environmental dynamics invariably will find their sharpest expression at the level of interpersonal relationships.
This article is premised on the assumption that the health of the organisation, and hence ultimately its productivity, will largely be determined by the nature of interrelationships within the management team. In simpler terms, the fitness of an organisation will be shaped largely by the extent to which its various units, led by the management team, work together as a coordinated structure. Flowing from this, the article seeks to make a case for the elevation of team work at MUT from being a matter merely of operational efficiency to that of a strategic imperative. Some other pertinent subjects are also touched on in the course of elaborating on the key theme, and notably the subject of institutional identity and the management identity within that contextual ambit.
A lesson from the coalface of executive leadership
In his book titled, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, Dr Marshall Goldsmith recounts the following anecdote, which is one of the many illustrative encounters that constitute the heart of his remarkable executive coaching menu (Goldsmith, 2012).
Dr Goldsmith received an unexpected call from the chief executive officer (CEO) of a Fortune 100 company where he had just conducted a leadership clinic. The caller said "Marshall, I got this guy running a big division who delivers his numbers and more every quarter. He is young, smart, dedicated, ethical, motivated, hard-working, entrepreneurial, creative, charismatic, arrogant, stubborn, know-it-all jerk". The CEO continued, "trouble is, we're a company built on team values, and no one thinks he's a team player. I am giving him a year to change, or he's out. But you know something, it would be worth a fortune to us if we could turn this guy around" (Goldsmith, 2012 p 11).
For the purpose of this article, it should suffice to mention that Dr Goldsmith credits this call, and the resulting assignment that he undertook with the cited divisional head of the company, as the spark that gave birth to his current career as an executive coach. The experience from this engagement led Dr Goldsmith to change from working mostly with large groups of managers to focussing on one-on-one engagements with predominantly very successful CEOs, other executives and a myriad of people who were high flyers in their own right. His focus, he says, has since been to help these otherwise successful individuals to each deal with his/her (uniquely) personal career-damaging interpersonal challenge or "habit that's annoying their co-workers; to help them eliminate it â so that they retain their value to the organization" (Goldsmith, 2012 p 13).
I do not intend here to explore the entirety of Dr Goldsmith's teachings, but I wish to use the anecdote quoted at the opening of this article above as a backdrop for my engagement and arguments below.
Why does management 'fuss' over team playing?
Students of organisational development and leadership in general will readily relate to this concept that, taken as a whole, every organisation is much like a living organism such as a human being. To survive, a living organism needs to have well-functioning organs, each of which is constituted by smaller tissues and ultimately cells at the lower level. In this analogy, a healthy body (organism/organisation) needs a set of various healthy parts to survive. In the case of a human being, for example, these will be a brain, heart, lungs, liver, etc. It is for this reason that organisations are concerned, firstly, that they have these constitutive organs, which loosely speaking will be the various organisational business units. For, without these organs, the body simply will not exist as a functional entity. However, we normally find that, for coordinated functionality, the various organs (business units) need to be arranged into systems in order to produce the desired sustenance, for example pulmonary system, cardio-vascular system, digestive system, etc. In a university setting, for example, these systems will be the faculties, centres, divisions, directorates, etc.
To stretch this analogy farther, the presence of organs is thus a condition for life to manifest under ordinary circumstances. But we learn from basic Biology lessons that the existence of healthy organs per se is not a sufficient condition for life. Ultimately, life will become possible only when the various systems and organs are appropriately interconnected. In other words, to gauge whether a particular organ (business unit) is functioning optimally we must determine most importantly whether and how it is interconnected with other parts of the body. A heart that is vigorously pumping gallons of blood â carrying oxygen and vital nutrients â into the emptiness of the belly will ultimately cause death from internal bleeding.
In organisational terms, the latter scenario involving the heart can be likened to a situation where people are (perhaps genuinely) very busy, but are not able to show to what effect their "busyness" counts in terms of set organisational goals and strategy. Putting it another way, people must ask themselves whether their "busyness" is the same as the business of the organisation. An illustrative example would be a production unit in a manufacturing enterprise, which continues to churn out excessive units during a time of economic recession in which the company's key customers have shown a reduced appetite for new purchases. The production unit has not consulted with sales and marketing departments and, oblivious to market trends, ends up saddling the company with unwanted inventory. In this example, one can just imagine the workers on the production line feeling excited about their own productivity, which unfortunately would have created a big headache for the accounting department and ultimately a performance failure for the CEO. During tough times, and depending on the scale of wastage created, the CEO could even end up being fired!
So, what's wrong with our smart guy?
The CEO of the Fortune 100 company was rightly deeply concerned about the fact that the "smart guy" was not a team player. In terms of our analogy, this guy, for all his other unassailable credentials, could be likened to a vigorous heart that has a defective aorta. Very soon, his energy and even his productivity would collapse the body!
Arising from this analysis, I wish to argue that effective management in any organisation must ultimately be centred on the management of interrelationships between its disparate units and people. Indeed, this maxim would hold even if one considers the management of people at its most basic level, that is, as a relationship between a manager and an individual staff member. Thus, the management process could be seen as some form of a codified relationship-building process that is premised on an organisational template.
To manage someone effectively, and not just actively, you must establish an effective and productive relationship. By active management, I mean managing people so that they deliver what you want. By effective management I mean managing people in a manner that will make them deliver probably even beyond your expectations. In the former, you need to only use a command and sanction-driven system. In the latter, it becomes essential that you use a consultative and self-reflective mode of management. In other words, in the latter you aim to share more than just the outputs or immediate contributions. You seek to create a sense of a shared vision.
I have argued already that creating functional interrelationships between units in an organisation is sine qua non to maintaining its very existence. If one accepts this argument, then a number of consequential perspectives arise, including the following:
â¢ This understanding must change the way we view managers as co-custodians and conveyors of the organisational philosophy and culture.
â¢ The role of managers as agents in the value chain of an organisation assumes a more urgent dimension. In simple terms, a manager who is engaged in a solo mission within an organisation will eventually become a contradiction in terms. This assertion must however not be equated to calling for managers to become clones of some higher authority, as this invariably stifles innovation and thus ultimately leads to inertia.
â¢ The notion of (creating) a matrix organisation arguably becomes less esoteric and more of an attribute that organisations must strive towards as a matter of common business sense and sustainability. The corollary is that, in reality, many organisations are more matrix types than they realise, but this lack of understanding is often the cause of, or contributor to, their internal inefficiencies. In the final analysis, creating internal connectivity between units should no longer be seen as just one of the important responsibilities of senior managers. It becomes the very essence of their job. In the language of the professionals, teamwork must be "elevated" from an operational orbit to the strategic nucleus. Just as in the analogy of the heart that is not well connected, the CEO would rather have a heart transplant than wait for an eventual and certain death. To paraphrase the line from a popular social awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS, the mantra for senior managers must be "Show me your connections".
Creating a management identity aligned to MUT's vision
The MUT Strategic Plan 2020 identifies a number of institutional weaknesses that were apparent at the time we did a SWOT analysis in 2010. With hindsight, I have observed that one of the shortcomings in our SWOT analysis map has been that we did not identify among our then (2010) institutional weaknesses the fact that we did not have an adequately, if appropriately, staffed senior management corps. To the point, the following positions of senior director were created and/or filled only after January 2010:
â¢ IT&N (new) â February 2010
â¢ Human Resources (new) â current August 2011
â¢ Finance (existing) â February 2011
â¢ Marcomms (re-activated) â March 2011
â¢ Operations (new) â January 2013
â¢ Institutional Planning and Research (new) â contract
â¢ Executive Director: VC (new) â September 2012.
â¢ Teaching & Learning Dev Centre (new) â in progress.
But I must hasten to add that, based on developments in the intervening period, it is clear that our failure to include the inadequacy of senior managers in the SWOT analysis map did not necessarily mean that we did not intuitively know that this gap existed. The omission could have been caused by one of many factors, which are no longer important at this stage. The important point is that we nonetheless proceeded (and still continue) to re-engineer the organisational structure with the purpose of creating both capacity and operational alignment.
As can be seen from the list above, MUT has appointed a substantial number of senior managers in the past two years. In fact, if we include the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellors in the mix, it is clear that the majority of current senior and executive managers at MUT are "new". I make this factual observation to argue, amongst others, that our current senior and executive management team is a much more diverse group in terms of institutional background. This factor must potentially make our team strong in terms of its intellectual resource base and perspectives with respect to culture, practice, experience and knowledge. The test is whether we are able to align ourselves properly so that we can harness this potential into a strategic advantage.
The near simultaneous entry of a significant number of new senior managers, and even lower level managers for that matter, into the MUT system as already noted can be expected also to create new complexities and challenges particularly at the operational level. I shall use some general scientific phenomena to illustrate this point. I start from the paradigm that any organisation will, after some time, reach some form of internal equilibrium that is constituted by various levels of interrelationships between its strategic and operational units, and their personnel. Thus, when a "new" member enters the scene at the management level, there will inevitably be a disruption of, or at least an interference with, the established equilibrium. In seeking, or rather, in order to accommodate the new member, the system must undergo a new internal re-alignment, and hence eventually reach a new state of equilibrium.
To assume the new form, some old structural relationships will have to be undone while new ones will have to be formed. Ultimately, it is thus not merely the fact of the "new" entering the scene, but equally the fact that the "old" and the "new" must find each other, that creates possibilities for new ideas and innovations. Indeed, corporate life is replete with examples where the "new" was unable to affect change and progress because of the failure to reckon with the "old" perspective.
At a practical level, strategic priorities are inherently multidisciplinary in nature. Their implementation requires that operational units link cross dimensionally as line functions and as members of programmes, projects, etc, irrespective of the kind of organisational model that one envisages. Now, if the entry of one "new" manager into the complex structure of an organisation potentially creates multiple disruptions, what more when we introduce several entrants in quick succession into a system?
In the context of organisational architecture, introducing a new layer of management and a new manager at the same time produces multi-dimensional dislocations and disruptions. Firstly, the new layer of management by definition displaces prior existing relationships. One immediate consequence of this action will be that customer, service and partner unit heads now have to interface with a new office for purposes of accountability. Secondly, the move often results in a virtual "demotion" of unit head(s) that have been the point of contact in the previous dispensation. Thirdly, a consequence of both the two outcomes above is that the other units in the value chain or service circle might start experiencing extended turnaround times from the affected unit, simply because of the fact that indeed the internal information/action loops within the affected unit have been extended. The latter is a material consequence of the structure. Generally, such change, if not managed with care, may become a cause of frustration, irritation and even conflict; and various units will start bemoaning "too much" management and bureaucracy.
The unintended creation of structural inefficiencies in the course of pursuing organisational renewal is anecdotally a phenomenon that is encountered across organisations. Suffice it to highlight that such inefficiencies are however not necessarily inevitable. But I have digressed somewhat from the focus of the current discussion.
I have tried to illustrate above some of the dynamics that arise from introducing a new layer of management into an organisation. The projected outcomes or effects thus far enunciated should conceptually be mostly neutral, in that they are not necessarily primarily influenced by the person or occupant of the new position. However, the second component of the change process is a subjective factor, and is linked directly to the personality, or rather personal attributes and temperament, of the incumbent or new entrant. This is so because in the end the incumbent will have a great influence on how effective the reconfigured relationships that were outlined above will become. In short, these two considerations are the basis for the common talk about the "right person for the job". Generally, these are some of the key factors that organisations take into account when they, for whatever reason, reach a point where they must consider relocating or releasing staff.
Evolving an ethos that's aligned to strategy
As the University now moves into the next phase of its journey, it is thus going to be very important that we engage as a management team on matters of institutional identity. We are challenged to look at ourselves as the leadership collective that must be defined principally by an evolving ethos that is neither complete at this stage nor bonded to the past. In any event, we have explicitly pronounced, as we did in the Self Evaluation Report, against the immediate past ethos that prevailed on our campus, and have indicated our intention to create a new institutional culture within the context of still-to-be elaborated institutional transformation agenda (MUT, 2011).
In a word, I propose that part of our transformation programme will have to include as a critical element the development of a MUT leadership charter that defines what we stand for and how we propose to help the University ultimately realise its vision and mission. But our ability to enable the University realise its objectives depends on us understanding the critical success factors for the task at hand.
The literature on strategy formulation, strategy execution and organisational renewal identifies a number of common themes as critical success factors. For example, in their ground-breaking book on strategy execution, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (2002) identify three core processes as being critical to a successful strategy execution in an organisation, namely, the people process, the strategy process and the operations process.
The authors then make the following remarks and observations regarding the way organisations make mistakes as they go about trying to execute strategy through the same processes: "Every business and company uses these processes in one form or the other. But more often than not they (business processes) stand apart from one another in silos. People perform them by route and as quickly as possible, so they can get back to their perceived work. Typically the CEO and his senior leadership team allot less than half a day each year to review the plans â people, strategy and operations. Typically too the reviews are not particularly interactive. People sit passively watching PowerPoint presentations. They don't ask questions" (Bossidy and Charan, 2002 p 22).
A closer reading of Bossidy and Charan suggests that, often, the people process turns out to be the most challenging of the three strategy execution pillars; and probably for good reason. After all, on the one hand, this is the arena where technical knowledge must be coupled with a grasp and interpretation of human behaviour in general. On the other hand, this is an area in which lasting changes and results are not always instantaneous, but may accrue only gradually; and not uncommonly, in a non-linear trajectory. In a word, this is an arena fraught with complexities and challenges.
In their popular book on strategy-focussed organisations, Robert Kaplan and David Norton (2004) deal with a wide range of issues pertaining to strategy implementation. One element of their central theme is that organisations that have successfully implemented a Balanced Scorecard adopted five common principles that in essence counter the misconception as observed by Bossidy and Charan: that strategy belongs in a block outside the "presumed" real work of individuals (Bossidy and Charan, 2002). The five principles of strategy implementation as identified by Kaplan and Norton are as follows:
â¢ Translate the strategy to operational terms.
â¢ Align the organisation to the strategy.
â¢ Make strategy everyone's job.
â¢ Make strategy a continual process.
â¢ Mobilise change through executive leadership.
In the case of MUT, it would be fair to state that we have dealt reasonably successfully, within our situational context, with the foundational aspects of strategy and operations in terms of our transitional agenda. This is demonstrated, for example, by the progress that we have demonstrably made in reducing our operational deficit as part of pursuing the financial sustainability objective of our strategic plan. The significant lagging pillar in our strategy execution is arguably the people process. In this context, one must see the current document as part of a multifaceted approach to ultimately enact the people process as such.
And whither our history and institutional identity?
A related question that arises from reflecting on our immediate past is this: can we pursue new ethos, new cultures and even some form of management identity while we are still enveloped in the same old institutional identity? A closer metaphor that captures this dilemma will be the biblical parable of putting new wine in an old cloth. In so far as our identity is concerned, it can be argued that we have gone through a two-stage transition in quick succession, perhaps without paying much attention to the movement. We may have been like revellers on a majestic cruise liner traversing the high seas; its sheer size dulls our senses, and we become hypnotised by relative motion.
MUT has statutorily gone from being a Technikon to becoming a University of Technology, but seemingly without even raising a new flag to mark the occasion. We have formally assumed a new status, but have arguably not yet embraced a new identity. To the point, we need to ask dispassionately whether the symbols that represent MUT today are truly representative of the current institution. Are they in reality not part of our history, perhaps better preserved for posterity as part of our valued archives?
In the same vein, I am prompted to ask whether this apparent lack of "moment" was a reflection of the "reluctance" with which the institution seemingly entered the new territory? Has the silence been occasioned by a sense of being overwhelmed by the new arena and its rituals? Or is it merely because we are so deeply utilitarian in our outlook?
On balance, it would seem that MUT, as is a "fresh" brand encapsulating a new bold vision and new aspirations, should be ready for a new image. For one thing, such organisational re-framing would confirm the reality of irreversible change and movement, in addition to helping us deal with the interruptions of the "rear mirror". But I must hasten to state that the matter of identity and branding, while somewhat relevant to the theme of this article, is however not the core issue as such; maybe it is a subject for another day.
Team playing as a leadership ethos and management imperative at MUT
I have earlier argued that I believe team values must underpin every organisation if it is to survive and thrive. Indeed, it would be almost incomprehensible for an organisation to defy this fundamental principle and still be able to achieve internal harmony at the level of operations and strategy execution.
At MUT, we have begun to experience some notable successes at the level of both individual strategic business units and the corporate entity. In these early stages, business units may well easily feel tempted to hoard such success, on the mistaken premise that only "we" have put in the effort. This tendency, if it manifests, would not be altogether surprising, much as a person who may have been starved before may find it difficult to countenance sharing their piece of bread with their companions when they initially get their hands on one. At a subliminal level, there is an internal drive for self-preservation, which not uncommonly may even override our higher-level thinking. The problem with success is that sometimes it may tend to blind us to our weaknesses. Dr Goldsmith, whom I have quoted earlier in this article, talks eloquently and authoritatively on this topic in his book; in fact, this subject is the very centre of his book (Goldsmith, 2012). As we become preoccupied with or, worse still, if we get disproportionately flattered by our success, we may even end up forgetting to mind some basic truths. One of these truths is that ultimately none of us â whether as institutions, units or individuals â can truly claim to have achieved success purely on our own (Goldsmith, 2012). But in any event, even if we may have done so, it would still be highly unlikely that we would be able to sustain such success on our own. Somewhere along the way, we will need a helping hand.
To come to my first essential point, I believe that we are better off understanding that teamwork can actually serve our own self-interest in the first place. But this nuance is not always so self-evident. Ironically, we are more likely to hear ourselves complaining about the lack of cooperation and teamwork from others when we have failed in our projects and endeavours, and when we are looking for excuses. We are likely to point a finger at those we believe could have, or should have, contributed to our success. And yet, after the finger pointing, how often do we go back to the same people to start a conversation about future cooperation for our mutual benefit? Or do we simply wait for the next occasion to repeat the excoriation, to cleanse ourselves at the other's expense? And to cap it all, what happens if the other (accused) party chooses to "fight back" against our accusation?
What do we do when someone else's interests are at stake?
On balance, engaging in teamwork as a means to achieving one's own interests may well sound to be a compelling enough proposition, or at least it should be. The one limitation, however, may be that notwithstanding its apparent virtues, the idea on its own may not generate the necessary enthusiasm to push us to act. This may be especially so when one considers that ultimately we must deal with other people and their foibles if we are to reap the promised advantages.
The irony is that we instinctively know that we need other people one way or the other, but emotionally we find that sometimes we cringe at the thought because we harbour certain prejudices that we may have formed and rationalised to ourselves about other people. One consequence of this is that we end up suffering from a self-inflicted pain. In any event, the reality is that we are never going to get rid of other people.
Bossidy and Charan (2002) emphasise the importance of effective delegation and teamwork in an organisation thus, "People who can't work with others reduce the capacities of their organisations. They don't get the full benefit of their people's talents, and they waste everybody's time including their own".
At an organisational level, the burden of management is to manage both people's rational and emotional impulses (Munslow, 2012). The latter, unfortunately, may now and again manifest in irrational thought and even conduct. As I have argued in the preceding paragraphs, in an ideal world the benefits of teamwork should be self-evident and compelling enough as to "force" all of us to follow its logic and dictates. But, alas, that is only an ideal world. In the real world, one of the fundamental tasks of management is to provide a compelling motivation and to create structured frameworks to help people overcome human nature.
A strategic imperative to create a framework for internal collaborations at MUT
The broad context and paradigm enunciated in this article leads me to the conclusion that we have probably reached a stage at MUT where we should now explore and even adopt new strategies to enhance our effectiveness. Of these, I have identified especially the area of fostering and managing internal relationships, and particularly collaborative efforts, as part of our strategy implementation.
In the latter regard, I am convinced that we shall need to design a framework that will minimally define and govern broad areas or activities in which structured collaboration between units will become mandatory. Such determination would have to be made on objective strategic grounds and, where necessary, appropriate project charters and/or memoranda will need to be formulated to guide the processes. But, as implied earlier, we need to go beyond prescription and seek to create a culture within the institution in which business units actively look for collaborative opportunities.
In making this proposition, one is mindful of the fact that there are varied approaches to managing collaborative work. In relation to multi-business corporations, for example, Kathleen Eisenhardt and Charles Galunic (2001) have argued that the most effective model of collaboration is what is termed coevolving. In short, this approach, as against the traditional approach, is characterised by a flexible and changing web of collaborative links among business units, such change being informed by the desire to "exploit fresh opportunities for synergies and drop deteriorating ones" (Eisenhardt and Galunic, 2001 p 111). In essence, the claimed superiority of the co-evolution model over traditional models is that it presumably yields what is termed the "1 +1 = 3" outcome in synergistic returns.
Interestingly, a university bears some characteristics of a multi-business entity. Each faculty can be viewed as a business organisation with unique products serving its own markets. For example, medical schools and engineering faculties have distinct characteristics, and each of these businesses serves its own market. Therefore, there are some interesting perspectives and lessons that we could adapt from the approaches advocated for multi-business entities. In this regard, Eisenhardt and Galunic (2001) propose the following seven steps to kick-start [effective] co-evolution:
â¢ Begin by establishing monthly must-attend meetings among business heads that enable them to get to know one another and to see collaborative opportunities. In the words of the authors, these meetings have the potential to, amongst other things, lead to the emergence of a shared intuition, meaning a common understanding â a gut sense â of the patterns shaping their industry.
â¢ Keep the conversation focused on real-time information about operating basics to build intuition and business roles. Include one or two specific strategic issues within or across businesses.
â¢ Get rid of "good people collaborate, bad people don't" thinking by rewarding self-interested pursuit of individual business performance against rivals.
â¢ When collaborative opportunities arise, remember that many managers get stuck in their first idea. Instead, brainstorm to expand the range of possible collaborative tools â from simple information sharing to shared assets to strategy and collaborative points along the value chain.
â¢ Realistically analyse the costs and benefits of the most promising options. Remember that benefits usually appear greater than they are.
â¢ Fine-tune as you go. Up-front analysis is never a substitute for real-time learning.
â¢ Avoid "collaboration creep". Take the time to cut stale links.
Another approach for generating effective collaborations between businesses takes the form of creating clusters of high performing teams. The latter is defined as a collection of specialised organisational units that perform pre-determined complementary roles to achieve strategic goals in support of the mission of the organisation. Organisational units may be personnel, strategic business units or organisations. For example, the government of South Africa has adopted this approach through the introduction of ministerial clusters, for example security cluster, social cluster, economic cluster, etc. In general, these clusters are formed around what are called "apex priorities". An example drawn from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is that the premier identified a group of departments that would form a cluster that was charged with leading the fight to combat HIV and AIDS. The activities of the cluster generated outcomes that drove relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) in the cabinet perspective of the Provincial Balanced Scorecard as coordinated in the premier's office. The departmental activities themselves, by inductive effect, drove the performance of members of the cluster to achieve outcomes on a level that could not be secured if participating departments acted independently.
The need for us to formulate structured frameworks for internal collaboration has not arisen purely out of a theoretical synthesis, but has also been informed by my own experiences of the daily realities at MUT. In summary, these experiences include, but are not limited to, the following:
â¢ I have observed some units/divisions sometimes squabble over turf and "spoils" from projects and activities. Invariably, these fights tend to sap the energy of those involved, and most certainly do not create a sense of excitement despite the positive results that such projects may have generated. In other words, it becomes a case of one step forward, two steps backward.
â¢ I have experienced instances where important tasks have fallen between the metaphorical cracks of business unit accountability. This not only creates organisational inefficiencies, but also exposes the University to a wide range of risks.
â¢ There have been occasions when some units/managers have sought to build walls of protectionism around themselves, and in so doing cause inconvenience and/or inefficiency in the institution. The upshot has been that, as in the preceding point, the University gets unnecessarily exposed to risk.
â¢ Further, Dr Laka-Mathebula has recently presented a preliminary report to the Vice-Chancellor on an on-going study that she is undertaking on partnerships in general at MUT. In her report, she makes a poignant observation that there seems to be an atmosphere of lack of mutual trust and/or a reluctance to cooperate between some business units with regard to partnerships. Arguably, the University and even the individual business units will not likely make much progress in the absence of coordinated action. Alternatively, different units in the University could end up exploring parallel relationships with the same entities; such an occurrence would clearly cause embarrassment to the University, to say the least.
In this article I have sought to argue for a new awareness on the need for teamwork within the MUT management group, by providing both a general theoretical grounding and an experiential premise. I have also raised questions on the matter of institutional identity, which I believe needs to be tackled as part of our overall change programme. Finally, the aim of this article is mainly to "provoke" colleagues to reflect deeper on the subject at hand, and thereupon to prepare to make contributions on same at the relevant institutional platforms.
Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Execution: The Art of Getting Things Done (Crown Business, New York, 2002).
Kathleen M Eisenhardt and D. Charles Galunic, "Coevolving: At last, a Way to Make Synergies Work", in Harvard Business Review on Organisational Learning (Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2001).
Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won't Get You There (Profile Books, London, 2012).
Robert S Kaplan and David P. Norton, The Strategy Focussed Organisation (Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2001).
Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), Self Evaluation Report (2011).
Daniel Munslow, "Successful Leadership: Communication is not a Department, but a Philosophy", in Leadership, Edition 330 (September 2012).