Forum – a professional services firm on management and organisation – published in 2008 a summary report bearing the results of a research on boundary leaderships. In the text, five critical areas for boundary leaders are identified for carrying out a cross-boundary endeavour (CBE).

  • Creating a compelling context. Boundary leaders are firstly required to create a compelling context that encourages the players in a public engagement effort to work together. This entails:
    • Linking the goals of his/her organisation with those of the CBE
    • Articulate a purpose for the CBE that is relevant to all players in collaboration
    • Providing a perception of the workability of the CBE for all the players.
  • Enrolling the right players. Boundary leaders should also enrol the right players for their CBE. This entails:
    • Casting and involving a net of people and organizations wider than the obvious ones, so as to involve players which can enrich the CBE with new ideas, perspectives and functions
    • Establishing different rings of involvement of various intensity levels, so as to allow stakeholders to find out the most appropriate one
    • Bridging the gaps between the different contexts the players are immersed in so as “to arrive at a point where people identify themselves not only with their home function or business unit, but also with the work of the CBE”.
  • Building Support and Momentum for Cross-Boundary Endeavours. Effective boundary leaders think strategically in order to create momentum for their initiatives. They pay attention to several “little things” that can make “the difference between an initiative that goes nowhere and one that becomes the bandwagon everyone wants to join”. This entails:
    • Making the messages launched to the stakeholders practical and personal for the receivers
    • Identifying those people and stakeholders able to pass along messages and influence large numbers of others
    • Disseminating the messages as many times as necessary to move people and stakeholders to action.
  • Fostering collaboration. Boundary leaders are expected to emphasize the value of collaboration and make sure it becomes part of the culture. This means launching right messages for fostering cooperation (“We have a shared goal”, “We reach out and share knowledge”, “We attack problems, not each other”) preventing and mediating conflicts and leveraging useful conflicts which can lead to greater innovation and quality.
  • Developing oneself as a non-positional leader. Boundary leaders should constantly develop their capacities as non-positional leadership underlying and reinforcing the previous four. The following five practices, encapsulate the behaviours demonstrated by effective cross-boundary leaders:
    • Setting cross-boundary goals and objectives
    • Bringing together people with different perspectives
    • Creating buy-in and enthusiasm about cross-boundary work
    • Fostering cooperation with other groups
    • Seeking creative ways to manage conflict.