Well some recent research by the Harvard Business Review found that 'collaboration occurs when responsibilities and roles are clearly defined'.
Tamara J. Erikson is an Author for Harvard Business Review and Top 50 Global Business Thinker. Right away those titles make me feel I need to pay attention to what she has to say.
Something that sounds like not such a big deal, actually makes sense in the context of behavioural psychology. The minute you publicly commit - sign on the dotted line - to take on a specific role, you do it properly. Or your peers will think badly of you.
Tamara advises leaders in all capacities to:
“sort out who is responsible for what. Leaving this to the group to sort out for themselves, or having loosely overlapping roles is in fact highly detrimental. Function-based titles – editor of the company newsletter, manager of the sales team, accountant for the west coast operations – are more essential than ever.”
I recently became an Entrepreneur in Residence at Lancaster University.
What does being an Entrepreneur in Residence actually mean?
Ricardo Zozimo manages all 50 Entrepreneurs in Residence at the university, and provides this definition:
“All our Entrepreneurs in Residence are longstanding associates of the University and have taken part in many flagship programmes, ensuring their views on SMEs are insightful, knowledgeable and really reflect the needs of businesses.”
For me, Erikson’s research on collaboration really resonates in this context. I have taken on the responsibility to share learnings from my career with the next generation of business leaders. In doing so, I feel that I learn as much from the students as they do from me. I love the cross-pollination of ideas. But then I would, being in the business of innovation.
And why Lancaster?
Having worked with the Marketing team to define exactly what Lancaster University stands for, that was a conscious choice. Lancaster is a plate glass university. One created to open the ‘ivory towers’ of learning to anyone who is prepared to work hard. Being at Lancaster is about where you are going, not what you have come from.
Lancaster focused on science and learning disciplines that were new to world when the University was created. It is still doing that now. In the 1960s they built strong marketing and psychology departments. Now they are also strong in space travel and teaching entrepreneurship as part of management. Forward facing, encouraging learning in new territories. That’s something I am very happy to be part of.
My new title also reminds me a little of one of my first job titles, that of museum Curator ‘to take care’. I hope that in my role of Entrepreneur in Residence I will provide a positive role model for the students, as they step out into a world of opportunity.