Social Physics: Oxymoron or Big ‘Social’ Data Tipping Point?

I’ve long been a fan of Sandy Pentland’s work at the MIT media lab. Pentland is perhaps best known for his ‘social tags’ used for monitoring individual human interactions to identify those interaction most associated with productive teams. When his new book “Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – Lessons from a New Science” coincided with the Easter holiday break, what better way to spend the break than to consume another Pentland tome? The title “Social Physics” in itself is notable as Pentland’s desire to a put a name to what he is doing, that is, identifying social interaction patterns…

Leading from the Bottom

We have been long-term advocates of J.B. Quinn’s inverted hierarchy model for new service-led economies. Essentially, Quinn’s argument was that the vast majority of jobs in the developed world (around 80%) are now service oriented and competitive advantage now comes from having ‘best in class’ competencies. His inverted hierarchy emphasises the need for line management to “support”, rather than “direct” front line staff in services organisations. Since its publication in the 1980s there has been a plethora of supporting voices from all quarters. The Deloitte’s led study “The Big Shift”; and book on “The Power of Pull”; the MIT management…

What’s in a Role? Another relic of the industrial age?

How should organisations manage their workforces in the post-industrial age? How should roles be described? More importantly, how does one assess whether a role is being performed adequately or not? Think about how workforce planning is being done in your organisation. Traditionally the human resources department will sit down with senior executives to map out the types of roles and positions the organisation needs to maximise performance. These named roles will typically be accompanied by a role description. There even may be a set of named competencies attached to these named roles. Having set up the ‘template’ for the identified…

Relationship Mapping and Monitoring with Yammer

Yammer is a leading social networking platform for use inside organisations. Its recent acquisition by Microsoft is not only good for Yammer, but for the many Microsoft Enterprise clients who have been struggling to ‘connect’ via Sharepoint. What is most exciting for us is that the combination of Microsoft’s Active Directory with Yammer’s conversational platform now provides a real opportunity to implement the ‘Real-time Social Business Dashboard‘ which will enable enterprises to move beyond their current process monitoring to see how people are really collaborating (or not) to meet organisational objectives. So what’s wrong with the analytics that Yammer currently…

Are IQ and EQ past their ‘used by date’ in Predicting Leadership Success?

Decades of leadership training and development have been focused on the intellectual (IQ) and emotional (EQ) attributes of the individual leader. Measurement schema have been developed in the form of IQ and EQ ‘intelligence’ measures as a means for identifying and developing potential leaders. But how successful have they been in predicting actual success? Most of us will have been exposed to ‘successful’ leaders that were desperately short on IQ, EQ or sometimes even both. As a case in point, recently the Harvard Business Review published its Top 100 CEOs based on long-term objective performance measures. Not surprisingly, top of…

How Social Network Analysis (SNA) Combats the Tyranny of Top Down

We are prompted to write this post by Gary Hamel’s excellent exposition on “Leaders Everywhere”, together with some recent SNA work we have been conducting that speaks directly to the thesis around developing leaders at all levels of the organisation. This also builds on our previous paper ‘Tyranny of Top Down‘. Much of the early thinking around inverted hierarchies can be attributed to J.B. Quinn and his writings on the “Intelligent Enterprise”. Prompted by the slow demise of the manufacturing led industrial sector and the burgeoning growth in the services sector, Quinn proposed the radical idea of inverting the hierarchy…