Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Publication Examines Workforce Collaborative Leadership

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Publication Examines Workforce Collaborative Leadership

Article excerpt

Workforce collaborations in today's fast-paced and interactive economy can have a powerful impact on local labor markets. The role of collaborative leaders: local officials, employers, educators, labor leaders, community organizers, and others who manage the implementation of workforce solutions was recently examined in, "From Stakeholders to Partners: Organizing Community Partnerships for Workforce Development."

The author, Mary Gershwin, director of system planning and strategic innovations, Community Colleges of Colorado, described the individual who can guide a dissimilar group of stakeholders towards a more effective workforce development strategy.

Gershwin demonstrates that successful workforce collaborations are led by skilled leaders who can overcome "turf" issues and institute a framework of performance measurement and accountability that all groups will enthusiastically commit to. It is a "big picture" assignment, suited to those who are able to balance the interests of several parties. In most cases this person will not be the head of a participating agency or business, and must therefore rely on their credibility, integrity, and proven ability to get the job done.

Once chosen, the effective collaborative leader follows a four step strategy that consolidates and orders competing interests from all stakeholders, including their own agency.

First, he or she must acknowledge accountability to sponsoring organizations. Collaborative leaders should understand the resources and needs of their sponsoring organization and select collaborative priorities which are mindful of these capabilities.

Second, the effective collaborative leaders must carefully assess the interests of the other participating organizations. In doing so, they are able to facilitate an open dialogue between participants, while at the same time discerning which the agencies are most seriously committed to the collaborative's success. …

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