Orienting

… a core concept in Leadership Skills and Atlas 109

Orienting2Concept description

Orienting, defined by Vocabulary.com as “positioning with respect to a reference system or determining your bearings physically or intellectually,” is a crucial operational skill when a public management practitioner is presented with a new problem or with a new organizational environment.

Richard Neustadt (reference below) defined orienting as follows.

This is a matter of locating yourself, on the job, in relation to the “organization chart” formal and informal, the distribution of authority and influence (and over what), the twists and turns of action-channels (and over what), the operating styles of your associates, the network of their interpersonal relations, the expectations centering upon your job and you (if any) – all as relevant to your responsibilities, objectives and pet projects, in whatever detail these warrant.

The CMHC Dictionary of Behavioural Competencies includes the following indicators of orienting skill (under the heading of Organizational Know-How and Awareness):

  • Knows and calls upon people in other parts of [the organization] who can be particularly helpful in providing resources or assistance when needed.
  • Understands the relationships, concerns and agendas of key people, and decisions made inside and outside of their own work group.
  • Knows where to get needed resources, information and support from other parts of [the organization].
  • Finds ways to get things done effectively through formal and informal channels.

The OECD Core Competencies includes the following behaviours (under the headings of Organisational Knowledge and Strategic Networking):

  • The ability to understand the power relationships within the Organisation and with other organisations. It includes the ability to understand the formal rules and structures including the ability to identify who the real decision-makers are as well as the individuals who can influence them.
  • Identifies and creates opportunities to initiate new connections that will facilitate the achievement of strategic goals within own area.
Source

Richard Neustadt, 1971, Operational Skills, Note to Students in PP240, at http://www.atlas101.ca/pm/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Operational-Skills-Richard-Neustadt-Class-Memo-Kennedy-School-1971.pdf, accessed 10 February 2016.

CMHC’s Dictionary of Behavioural Competencies, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/corp/ca/ouhipr/ouhipr_005.cfm, accessed 15 February 2016.

OECD Competency Framework, on Atlas at OECD Core Competencies, original at http://www.oecd.org/careers/competency_framework_en.pdf, accessed 7 January 2016.

Atlas topic and subject

Working in Organizations (core topic) in Leadership Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 17 February 2016.

Image: TeachingWithoutPants, at http://teachingwithoutpants.blogspot.ca/2015/05/orienting-online-students.html, accessed 17 February 2016.