Thought partnership is a novel practice of sharing ideas and experience with others to help them navigate through complex changes. It is one of the most preferred non-directive approach to coaching that is very effective in helping people change. The coach needs to ask questions that raise client's awareness of the need for change, build a sense of urgency, get the client to make the decision to change, problem solve around what change will mean and then get the client to commit to action. Finally, the coach must reinforce the change to make it permanent (Backon, 2003).
In an article supporting the need for a stronger board, authors Felton, Hudnut, and Witt (1995) emphasize on how proactive CEOs look for improving company performance by benefiting from an independent involved board. The authors advise the CEOs to have directors on board, who act as thought partners over the major issues facing the company and can give fully informed and objective opinions. This path is attractive for a CEO to oversee the creation of an active, value-adding board of directors. The independent board members can thus maximize the returns on their efforts by focusing on improving core processes.
However, the professional advisors do not always perform as consistently and they improve with time and experience. It is only in the third phase of professional growth, that an advisor or teacher can be sustained as a thought partner. Before this phase the advisors are mere technical assistants or theory builders. The advisors internally reflect on both micro and macro levels during the advising sessions as well as during retrospect. It is during this phase of development that the advisors develop from a mini-workshop provider, where help and answers are offered to a more evolved collaborative planner, who reflects to synthesizes new ideas with old ones (Gabriel, 2010).
Once the guidance of a such professional advisor is engaged, the implementing organisation then goes through the challenges of nurturing the new on the innovation pattern. It is important to infer here that important processes can be found outside one’s sphere of familiarity. von Oetinger (2005) has given five guidelines to this process of nurturing, namely finding something new; getting rid of old; open the organisation up to remove anxiety; break own rules that limit the action; blossom the new in the right context. The practical implication of this exercise is for those creating the new that they have not previously encountered.
Contributing further, authors like Hemminki (2016) and Desouza (2009) practiced the above literature for examining business development and innovation processes in companies that now operate in fast changing market environments. The results revealed and suggested the need for separating the traditional business from innovative developments of new businesses. The innovation process of new businesses can be broken down into discrete stages namely, idea generation and mobilization, screening and advocacy, experimentation, commercialization, and diffusion and implementation. The success of such implementation is hugely dependent on management commitment and the planned organisational initiatives around innovation.
Understanding the importance of cautious navigation through complex changes in most of the managerial and strategic decision, a strong need is established for a thought partner who can outline the managerial process with indicators of success for each stage. Such partner can create common framework for discussion and initiatives.
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Bacon, T.R., 2003. Helping people change. Industrial and Commercial Training, 35(2), pp.73-77.
Desouza, K.C., Dombrowski, C., Awazu, Y., Baloh, P., Papagari, S., Jha, S. and Kim, J.Y., 2009. Crafting organizational innovation processes. Innovation, 11(1), pp.6-33.
Felton, R.F., Hudnut, A. and Witt, V., 1995. Building a stronger board. The McKinsey Quarterly, (2), pp.162-176.
Gabriel, R., 2010. The case for differentiated professional support: Toward a phase theory of professional development. Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 4(1), pp.86-95.
Hemminki, M., 2016. Innovation development to new business in incumbent firms: a case study on the pharmaceutical companies in Finland.
von Oetinger, B., 2005. Nurturing the new: patterns for innovation. Journal of Business Strategy, 26(2), pp.29-36.