Boundary: bound·a·ry, ˈbound(ə)rē/ noun: boundary; plural noun: boundaries. 

A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line; "the eastern boundary of the wilderness.

Synonyms: border, frontier, borderline, partition.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet — not one person or a famous global personality, but a group of 4 civil organizations that helped establish a political process when the country was on the brink of a civil war.

Tunisia’s uprising was the first and most successful of the Arab Spring. Instead of the typical definition of a great leader who magically galvanized the masses to do “something,” this was instead a recognition that a peace process cannot be about one individual — indeed, it cannot even be about one organization.

It took a group of leaders (and they called themselves mediators) from 4 different and critical civil organizations to work together to establish a successful pluralistic democracy.

It is a powerful lesson to everyone today — our society is far more complex than it has ever been, and no great achievement is going to be individual anymore.

At CCL, a few years ago, over 50 colleagues (notice the pattern!) identified 5 boundaries that are universal and remain true in human relationships:

That piece in itself is not surprising for anyone. But then they identified the key strategies to span boundaries.

I can’t go in to the minds of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, but I’m willing to bet they went through the stages identified in successful boundary spanning leadership. (View our Boundary Spanning Leadership white paper for more info.)

Boundary means a limit, but more interestingly, it means frontier. And frontiers are where magic happens!

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