Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change

  • 3h 18m
  • Dean Williams
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • 2015

Leaders today—whether in corporations or associations, nonprofits or nations—face massive, messy, multidimensional problems. No one person or group can possibly solve them—they require the broadest possible cooperation. But, says Harvard scholar Dean Williams, our leadership models are still essentially tribal: individuals with formal authority leading in the interest of their own group. In this deeply needed new book, he outlines an approach that enables leaders to transcend internal and external boundaries and help people to collaborate, even people over whom they technically have no power.

Drawing on what he's learned from years of working in countries and organizations around the world, Williams shows leaders how to approach the delicate and creative work of boundary spanning, whether those boundaries are cultural, organizational, political, geographic, religious, or structural. Sometimes leaders themselves have to be the ones who cross the boundaries between groups. Other times, a leader's job is to build relational bridges between divided groups or even to completely break down the boundaries that block collaborative problem solving. By thinking about power and authority in a different way, leaders will become genuine change agents, able to heal wounds, resolve conflicts, and bring a fractured world together.

About the Author

Dean Williams has been a faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government since 1999 and is based at the Center for Public Leadership, where he directs the World Leaders Project. He is also the faculty chair of the executive education program, the Global Change Agent.

Dean served for five years as the chief adviser to the president of Madagascar, leading a comprehensive and innovative reform process for rapid development. He has also led major change processes, facilitated leadership development initiatives, and conducted research with governments, corporations, and educational systems in India, Australia, Nigeria, Singapore, Brunei, East Timor, Japan, Colombia, Cambodia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. He continues to work with businesses, governments, and institutions around the world on building leadership capacity to respond to the demands of leading in a crazy and fractured world.

Dean was born and raised in Australia. His first job was as a factory worker at Ford Motor Company. He later earned both master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University, specializing in leadership and organizational development.

He is also the author of Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges.

In this Book

  • Leadership for a Fractured World—How To Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change
  • Foreword By His Holiness The Dalai Lama
  • Preface
  • Introduction—It’s a Crazy, Fractured World
  • What Leadership for a Fractured World Entails
  • Diagnostic Boundary Spanning—Discovering Where and How Groups Get Stuck
  • Crossing Boundaries—Helping Different Groups Address Interdependent Problems
  • Busting Boundaries—Breaking Up Maladaptive Practices
  • Transcending Boundaries—Promoting Creative Problem Solving
  • Building Bridges—Connecting Groups Divided by Deep Fractures
  • Expanding Your Personal Boundaries
  • Keeping Yourself from Fracturing