CeBIT – Oz Day 1 Twitter Storm

Day 1 CeBIT Australia is now over and the twitter storm was intense. Some 1,244 tweets against the #CeBITAus tag. But what about the TwitChat? Only some 250 messages were actual interactions i.e. a mention/retweet or a direct reply. Storms are something to duck for cover from. However, amongst the tweet storm there are some gems that people think are important enough to mention to their followers….just 14% to be precise. We can learn a lot from this 14%. For example who is the most influential Tweeter based on the interactions that they provoke. We used the NodeXL software to import data from twitter to visualise who talks to who:

CeBIT TwitChatThe twitter profile pics are sized by the number of mentions or replies the tweeter has received. So the bigger the picture, the larger the impact their tweet/s have had on others. Here is our ‘league table’ of ‘most noticed’ tweeters for CeBIT day 1:

Twitter Name
Number of Mentions

Now we can learn a little more from the patterns of interactions from the maps. For example lets look at Lisa_Cornish’s direct interactions:

Cebit-CornishWe can see that 22 people have each mentioned Lisa’s tweet, so clearly it was the most engaging tweet of the day!

Now lets pick out someone else from the map and look at their pattern of interactions:

Cebit KcarruthersWe can see that ‘kcarruthers’ has fewer mentions than Lisa, but a bit of a ‘community’ developing around her. Lisa may have tweeted something very noteworthy, but I suspect that kcarruthers may have longer lasting influence through the community surrounding her. 

So those of you into CRM and Social CRM take note. Its not just the number of interactions, its also the nature of them!

Feel like exploring a little more? We have taken the NodeXL data and created an interactive version using our WebMapper technology. Be warned, it works best with Chrome, Firefox and the latest versions only of IE and Safari. Also only the newest IPads (IOS 6)

[hana-code-insert name=’Cebit Map’ /]

There is a lot you can do with the interactive map. Firstly you should play with the ‘expand’, ‘zoom’ and ‘font size’ sliders to explore how to visualise the map. The next thing you will notice is the different colouring of the nodes into some 20 groups. These were determined by NodeXL’s clustering algorithms which try to cluster nodes based on common connections. You can explore these by checking and unchecking them in the tick boxes. You can also check and uncheck the ‘mention’ and ‘reply-to’ links. Finally you can select a single node to see the network that surrounds just them (like we did with lisa_cornish and kcurruthers). Mousing over the node will expose their twitter handle. You can search for a twitter ID in the search box. ‘Show all’ will restore the original map.

Enjoy your explorations!

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 the list is Steve Jobs, who has left a legacy in Apple that perhaps we will never see the likes of again.  While few would question Job’s IQ, his EQ capability was somewhat questionable. If we revisit the core elements of EQ they are:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
  4. Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions and
  5. Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

It only requires a brief read of his biographies to suggest that he would have failed on the ‘Self Regulation’ and ‘Empathy’ dimensions. Low IQ is also shown not to be a barrier for becoming a successful leader, with leadership guru Garrison Wynn quoting a study of one group of successful leaders having an average IQ of 104.

It may be a little harsh to suggest that IQ and EQ are useless measures in predicting leadership success, but its not hard to argue that they are clearly insufficient predictors. We believe the key issue affecting leadership developers and trainers is that their thinking is locked in a ‘Newtonian World’. Newtonian thinking about leadership squarely places the individual as the unit of study, that needs to be dissected and analysed to uncover insights that might separate highly successful leaders from the rest. The result has been extensive IQ and EQ metrics, but no magic formulas. This ‘inside-out’ style of thinking ignores the external environments within which leaders operate. When we take an “outside in” and more holistic perspective we can start to gain a much richer appreciation of what makes a successful leader tick. This style of thinking is regularly called ‘Quantum Thinking’. The contrast with Newtonian thinking is summarised below:

Newtonian vs quantum

When we apply a quantum thinking lens to the leadership conundrum we can start to appreciate the effect of the external environment on leadership success. Boris Groysberg, Andrew N. McLean, and Nitin Nohria’s  2006 Harvard Business Review study looked at how portable leaders were when moving companies. The researchers used GE executives as their sample and studied their relative success when moving to other companies as the CEO. GE is roundly acknowledged as a nursery for high performing business executives. The researchers found that the least portable traits were related to ‘Relationship Human Capital’ and ‘Company Specific Human Capital’. In other words, it is the external environment, made up of relationships and social and cultural norms, that had the biggest impact on success, independent of any generic IQ and EQ attributes.

Acknowledged leadership guru and author Steve Denning, in describing his concepts around radical management change, also preaches an ‘outside in’ perspective. In his analysis of the missing ingredients in leadership today he states: we need to get beyond thinking about leadership as merely making better individuals. That’s because systems are stronger than individuals. Having better individual leaders won’t do much for the crisis in leadership”.

So where do we start with an outside-in perspective?

We think the missing ingredient is a leader’s ‘social capital’ – in other words the connectedness of a leader. Dr Hilary Armstrong introduced the concept of ‘Connected Intelligence (CQ)’ in her paper ‘Follow the Leader: Leadership development for the future.CQ IQ EQ  Unlike IQ and EQ, CQ is not ‘owned’ by an individual, but exists as a shared asset that one can contribute to, but not control. Unlike a 360 degree performance review, its not simply about getting feedback, its about co-creating the future. While Steve Jobs may have failed the EQ test, his links to the entertainment industry through Pixar and Disney, during his enforced leave from Apple, afforded him the contacts and capability to forge the cross industry partnerships required to make products like the iPod,  iPhone and iPad possible.  Apple’s competitors did not lack the capability to produce competitive hardware. What they lacked was a leader with the CQ to harness the complex ecosystem of relationships required to deliver the whole product. 

We have written previously in more detail about a personal social capital diagnostic. In this post we noted that participants in social networking platforms like Linkedin and Facebook can gain some insight into their networking patterns by the analytics provided by these platforms. Draw NetworkBut to test how ‘portable’ your skills might be to a target organisation for yourself, simply take a piece of paper and list out 10 to 20 people that you believe that you have the capacity to influence, or be influenced by in this organisation. If it’s someone you think you can influence draw an arrow toward them. If it is someone that influences you, then draw the arrow towards yourself. If you influence each other, draw a double-ended arrow. It is worth pausing to think about the meaning of reciprocated connections. Are they an indicator of the level of trust between the two entities? What obligations and/or norms might exist between yourself and those on your map i.e. relationship dimension. Now try and complete the influence network by thinking about how your contacts might influence each other. Now review the structure of your map.

Structure gauge maps

Is it tightly clustered with many redundant links between your contacts in the target organisation (which could be your current organisation), like the structure on the right? If so, your fit with the ‘Company Specific Human Capital’ is strong and therefore your prospects for success high. If your map looks more like the ones to the left then you are likely to have some ‘Relationship Human Capital’ building to do and more likely, a longer gestation period for success.

A Final Word

While IQ and EQ’s time may not have come just yet, we believe that the Newtonian style of thinking that has generated them has now reached its limit. We can no longer think about leadership independent of the environment within which it is practiced.  Quantum style thinking provides the outside-in perspectives that will provide prospective leaders with the insights required to more comprehensively assess their future prospects as a leader.

That is why Optimice has partnered with the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership to bring Connected Intelligence (CQ) to the leadership development marketplace.

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 and placing customer facing staff at the top level, supported, rather than being directed by their respective line managers and executive staff. 
Inverted HierarchyAs Hamel eloquently puts it, many organisations that are locked into industrial age business models are now trying to become more client focused, adaptive, and have accountability for results at all levels. We think the first step in this journey is to understand what the current status quo is. We are using a recent case study of ours related to an organisation that has a long industrial heritage. Global competition and the drive to radically reduce their cost of doing business are forcing them to consider the sorts of interventions that Hamel is suggesting. But before launching into such interventions we suggest that it is always a better practice to ‘take the x-ray’, to understand the detail of the current status quo. In large organisations it is rare that all parts of the company behave in precisely the same way. Using the insight of the x-ray, one can provide the treatments to areas of most need, while highlighting those areas already operating in accordance with the desired state.

Using the facility of Social Network Analysis (SNA), we can take that x-ray to see what the relationship network in an organisation really looks like:

Full X-Ray

This social network map shows how the staff of this organisation are connected by ‘dependency’ i.e. staff were surveyed and asked who they were most critically dependent on in doing their job well. The red links show where this dependency is reciprocated. We like to think of these as ‘trusted links’, where knowledge and information is likely to flow more easily. The colours represent the different formal business units. We can already see some ‘siloing’ around business units, something that is common in top down hierarchies. The circles are people. The size of the circle is related to how many dependency nominations that person has received. A large circle suggests that this person is important in the organisation. In very hierarchical organisations, we would expect to see the larger circles identified with the line management roles.

Now because this organisation was interested in who the ‘natural leaders’ are in the organisation i.e. those staff who attract dependency nominations, not based on any formal role authority, but simply through the value they provide to their peer worker. Through the ‘magic’ of SNA we can explore this scenario by simply removing all the line managers from the map:

No Managers X-Ray

Now the circles are re-scaled to reflect just those nominations that are received from their peer shop floor workers. It is evident from this map that the line managers are playing a linking role between business units as the silos are even more defined; something that we would expect from a top down hierarchy. But it is also evident, especially within the red and yellow business units, that work can still proceed without a strong reliance on their line managers. This is encouraging as perhaps some of the larger circles in this line-manager-less world could be the natural leaders that the organisation is looking for and who’s value adding behaviours they could promote and replicate.

Lets now look at some of Hamel’s recommendations and how we can use SNA to achieve them:

Hamel Recommendation

How SNA can be used to help

Develop smaller, more accountable teams.

We can see from our maps where the natural teams lie and therefore these can be leveraged immediately.

Attach compensation to value provided.

The first step here is to check the compensation for the higher peer nominated staff in the ‘no managers’ map. We should then visibly compensate those voted as adding most value.

Open up the strategic conversations and information flows from the top down.

The SNA map identifies where the information flows may be constrained and who may or may not be playing important information brokering roles. SNA results can be used to maximise efficient information diffusion.

Collect peer to peer feedback

This is what SNA fundamentally does.

Provide fast feedback to facilitate adaptability at the customer interface.

With the help of enterprise social networking tools, it will be possible to provide peer feedback in real time, through mapping conversational patterns on social platforms. See Social Analytics 2.0 – Its Time

Train and equip leaders with skills, information and contacts to be fully accountable for the work they are performing.

SNA maps work to the granularity of the individual. Using SNA tools we can drill down to an individual leader to assess what their current network looks like and then assess what can be done to improve this. We have blogged previously about this in Is your Personal Social Capital Helping or Hindering Your Leadership Aspirations? 

To conclude this article on a leadership development note, here is a quick quiz:

Here are three personal network maps for leaders drawn from an overall SNA X-ray. Pick out who you think looks  like a Co-ordinator/general manager; a domain specialist; or a potential innovation broker? (Note that the colours represent different business units).

Leader ProfilesKeep watching this space for announcements about our new ‘Personal Networking Diagnostic’ for emerging leaders.