Visible Network Labs Forums Network Leadership What are the biggest challenges in network leadership for 2019?

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    Danielle Varda
    Post count: 7

    I’m convinced that THE network leadership challenge of 2019 is governance. Who should be leading your network? A backbone organization? Should they be self-governed? What is shared leadership? I’d love to hear what other people are thinking about this!

    David R. Hackett
    Post count: 4

    While I’m interested in the challenge of network governance, the greater challenge I observe among the dozens of networks I’m familiar with is developing the collaborative skills of the network leadership (or facilitation) team.

    Many networks, especially early on, are led by well-meaning network catalysts who know little about effective network exploration, formation, operation, and management. Because their organizations are inexperienced in inter-organizational leadership and offer no collaborative leadership training, these people are leading by gut feel, intuition, good-will, and genuine concern — commendable, of course, but hardly sufficient for guiding the development of an effective network or partnership.

    So the looming challenge is to seed the field with network leadership knowledge, skills, and approaches. How well we do this will determine if we even have networks surviving enough to worry about governance matters.

    Danielle Varda
    Post count: 7

    Hey Dave – I could not agree more!

    First – I loved Blythe’s question today in her webinar just asking what people think network governance is…and how clear it was that we don’t have a common definition. I think of governance as the way you describe it, and think the word governance is all wrong! We have started referring to “stewardship” but “managing networks” also sounds simple to me!

    Second – yes, there is so little training and support people doing this work. There is such an assumption that people can just “do” this work because we are humans and know how to connect (or there is an assumption we do!). But managing networks is such hard work. This has really motivated the work we do int eh Learning Lab, to figure out how to support network stewardship. I love the work you do.

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