Are you a Responder?

SWOOP ‘Responder’ Online Behavioral Persona

Are you a Responder image

This post continues the series the deeper dives into the specific measures included in the SWOOP Collaboration Framework #swoopframework. The ‘Responder’ Behavioural Persona is the third positive collaboration persona with the ‘Engager’ and ‘Catalyst’ personas.

How Measured?

The ‘Responder’ persona is currently calculated as a significant surplus of contributions made, over responses received. Contributions include posts, replies and likes, while responses are replies and likes.


‘Responders’ are the ‘care givers’ in teams or communities. They make sure that fellow members are not left out on a limb with no responses to their contributions. While they may not be a source of insightful posts that gain large numbers of responses, they are regular responders themselves, by way of replies or likes. Their positive contribution is provided by the way they ensure their fellow members become part of conversations. Of course in a Q&A context they could also be our specialist experts.

High performing ‘Responders’ will prefer a formal reply over a simple like. They make it their business to ensure that no question goes unanswered, often referring questions to those they believe can help, if they can’t answer directly. In this way they may also play an ‘Engager’ role from time to time.

What should this mean to you?

Formal ‘community managers’ are the archetype ‘Responder’. As community managers their role is to facilitate the growth and sustainability of their respective community. Inside a team, the team leader may sometimes play this role during a team-building phase. For more established teams the team co-ordinator/administrator may adopt this role. If you have a natural preference for care giving, this is the role for you.

In summary, the ‘Responder’ persona is one of the three most positive personas, with the ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Engager’. For those that have a preference for care giving and nurturing, as well as ensuring that everyone is in a good collaborative mindset, then being a ‘Responder’ could be for you. A team full of responders will be a comfortable and happy place to work, though perhaps not as productive as ones that contain ‘Engagers’ and ‘Catalysts’ as well.

Tag: #swoopframework


Swoop Persona: Are you a ‘Catalyst’ for Innovation Online? Here’s how you can find out.

Catalyst Canva

This post continues the series of deeper dives into the specific measures included in the SWOOP Collaboration framework #swoopframework. The ‘Catalyst’ behavioural persona, in our view, is the next most desirable collaboration persona after the ‘Engager’. Catalysts are regularly seen as change agents and innovators.

How Measured?

The ‘Catalyst’ persona is currently calculated as a significant surplus of responses received, over contributions made. Contributions include posts, replies and likes, while responses are replies and likes received. Have a look at your interaction patterns on your favoured social channel to find out if you ‘fit the bill’.


‘Catalysts’ are more commonly labeled as ‘Influencers’ in the social media world. A ‘Catalyst’ is able to attract a disproportionate number of responses to their posting contributions. In fact the larger the number of responses that they can gain from a single post, the more influential and valued they are perceived. A good ‘Catalyst’ will gain a reputation and a following from those that value their contributions. It’s not a trivial task to become a catalyst/influencer in the social media world. They are sought after by advertisers because of the strength of their following.

In the Enterprise context, influencing in the advertising context may be less valued. However ‘Catalysts’ will be commonly associated with innovation and positive change; something that should be important to all teams and communities to differing extents. A strategy, marketing or business improvement community would be positively impacted by the presence of Catalysts. Alternatively, business process execution teams, who live by standard process compliance, could be disrupted negatively by the presence of ‘Catalysts’.

What should this mean to you?

If the roles you aspire to are to be the change agent and/or disrupter of the status quo, then developing your skills to achieve the ‘Catalyst’ persona may be for you. You can’t however just decide to become a ‘Catalyst’. The trick is to be able to consistently attract multiple responses on things you post; something you can’t control directly. Have a look at this link to this question on Quora on how to become influential.  Note that building relationships is a key pre-condition. Being seen as a reliable and constructive ‘Responder’ or ‘Engager’ can perhaps be a required path on the journey towards becoming a successful ‘Catalyst’.

In summary, the ‘Catalyst’ persona is, we believe, the next most positive persona after Engager. For those that thrive in leading positive change and innovation, being a Catalyst online and off can be the most positive contribution you can make to your Enterprise. Unlike the ‘Engager’, a team or community full of ‘Catalysts’ are unlikely to the productive though.

Tag to share: #swoopframework


Swoop Persona: Are you an Online ‘Engager’?

Are you an Engager image

This post is the first in a longer series of posts devoted to a deeper dive into the specific measures included in the SWOOP Collaboration Framework #swoopframework. We are starting with the ‘Engager’ Behavioural Persona; in our view the most desirable collaboration persona.

How Measured?

The ‘Engager’ persona is currently calculated as a balance of all contributions made against responses received. Contributions include posts, replies and likes, while responses are replies and likes. On the Yammer platforms these are the most common contribution and response types.


According to the research on the positive collaborative behaviors that contribute to superior performance, the balance of give-receive is a key indicator. In his book “Social Physics” , MIT’s Sandy Pentland identifies team members with a balance of give and receive are associated with high performing teams. Pentland goes further by using wearable social tags, he was able to identify the nature of the interactions also being short, sharp and frequent. For high performing teams, relationships have matured to the point where tacit knowledge exchanges do not require extensive explanations and justifications. Average message length could capture this dynamic, though we are yet to implement this.

We see ‘Engagers’ as the glue that keeps teams and communities engaged. They are the brokers and connectors. Without ‘Engagers’, a community or team risk disconnected conversations and therefore unproductive interactions. Is there a problem having a team full of engagers? In most instances we would say no, as this would indicate the team or community is buzzing along in a highly productive way. The exception we would make is when an injection of new thoughts or innovations are required. For that we see the need for some ‘Catalysts’ to be added to the mix.

What should this mean to you?

Based on the benchmarking we have done to date, it is not easy to become and sustain the ‘Engager’ persona. We believe that everyone should aspire to develop skills to enable them to become and sustain engager status. In this way you will have the skills to be a productive member of any team or community. It will require you to be mindful of your contribution patterns and the sorts of posts and replies that you make, that may or may not attract reactions from your colleagues.

There will however, be times where it may be appropriate for you to adopt a different behavioural persona. For example, if the team or community is looking for fresh ideas and positive change, the ‘Catalyst’ persona may be more appropriate for you, if you want to lead that change. In other contexts you may be looking to sustain interactions in a community or team, where the ‘Responder’ persona may be a positive one for you.

In summary, the ‘Engager’ persona is, we believe, the most positive persona to exhibit online and off. Those that have developed the skills to switch into and sustain this mode of interactions, will always be a sought after team or community member.



What Makes a Great Team On-line and Off?

We are witnessing a significant shrinkage in the digital divide between on-line and off-line work, as rapid digitization takes hold. The days when online work was led by the digital savvy are rapidly disappearing as even the baby boomer generation embrace social media. Our research has even identified that co-located teams use electronic means to record and share their work artifacts. So how can the movement to digital be used to assess team performance?

The management literature is profuse with models and methods for assessing teams and team performance. Traditionally team assessments have focused on the behavioural preferences of team members and the needs to accommodate diversity, or sometimes a lack of diversity, to ensure maximum team performance. The ubiquitous Myers-Briggs personality profiling emerged in the 1960’s with profiles compiled from introvert/extrovert; sensing/thinking; thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving poles. One of my favorites though is the Team Management Systems.  I have been ‘TMSed’ several times in my career. Comparing our online SWOOP Personas with the TMS profiles we can see there is a somewhat loose mapping:

Personas teams

Briefly, Engagers are able to balance contributions made and contributions received; Catalysts receive more than they give; Responders contribute more than they receive; Broadcasters are like Responders, but post more than they reply and finally Observers have too lower levels of participation to be classified otherwise. While we would happily assign ‘Linking’ to the ‘Engager’ persona, Margerison-McCann, the inventors of the TMS, suggest that linking can be a learned trait for all profiles, rather than an inherent preference. If so, we could infer that no matter what persona you display, in the longer term we are all capable of learning how to be a Linker/Engager. Margerison-McCann place a high emphasis on the connection between linking and team success. We can see the Catalyst Persona mapping to Innovating; Broadcaster to Promoting, Engager to Developing/Organising/Producing and Responder to Maintaining/Advising. The one potential mismatch at this time is that our ‘Observer’ persona is currently a catch all for those not well engaged with the platform. We might hope though that some of these observers at least might adopt an ‘inspecting’ role, if they choose not to be more centrally active. Overall, the mapping to TMS profiles gives us the confidence that over time, real-time team assessments are within reach.

Perhaps my most memorable TMS learning was when the TMS profiles were conducted in conjunction with one of those executive outdoor adventure-learning programs. We were Team blogall duly provided coloured caps that represented our preferred TMS style. We quickly learnt how dysfunctional a raft building team full of ‘Organisers’ and ‘Producers’ could be!  In the on-line world one could also envisage a team overloaded with one particular persona, might have dysfunctional effects e.g. teams full of catalysts might have trouble concluding tasks; or a team of responders and broadcasters may have trouble moving forward with team tasks. The exception may be a team full of engagers, which on balance, may arguably be the secret for team success, based on some of the more recent research described later in this post.

Instruments like Myers-Briggs and TMS and the like can only be point in time checks. They are expensive and can therefore only be done periodically, and often only with selected teams. Unlike my outdoor adventure learning experience, we don’t wear our preference profiles on our sleeves or on our head. Teams are also changing far more dynamically now, making the team bonding task even more challenging. So what can the movement to digital do to help us maximise team performance? Can we do team profiling now in real-time?

More recent research on teams is surfacing the social inclusion aspects of high performing teams.  Google’s search for what constitutes the ‘perfect team’ largely dismissed the importance of what we might call the ‘team of stars’ in favour of interaction attributes like social sensitivity and psychological safety. In common with one of our favourite studies on what makes great teams, by MIT’s Sandy Pentland, is the recognition that great teams have members who all talk and listen in roughly equal proportions. Pentland’s invention of the social tag provides a hint that we are close to assessing team performances in real time.

Recently we wrote about the SWOOP Online Personas that we had designed and tested on live Enterprise Social Networking sites (Yammer). We also noted that ESN use was yet to move down to the team level; something that we strongly recommended should happen if true collaboration performance changes were to be achieved.

To move the agenda forward with on-line team profiling, we developed a collaboration measurement framework that acknowledges team assessment methods now need to move from the traditional off-line survey based assessments to on-line and real time. It also recognizes that team assessments need to move from a focus on the individual profiles to personas that capture interaction behaviours. While we will save a review of this framework for a later post, we can say that the framework has been mostly used at the enterprise level, though where it has been applied to smaller  ‘team sized” organisations or even for individual teams inside a larger organisation, we can clearly see the positive impact of moving collaborative platforms and their associated analytics down to the team level.

We think that the movement to on-line team profiling, leading to higher team performance is imminent. Team profiling assessments will not have to wait until outcomes are achieved and measured, but will monitor team behaviour patterns in real-time, to allow adjustments to be made in time to ensure good outcomes are achieved in all circumstances.

So back to our question “What makes a great team online and off?”  I hope we have been able to convince you that it’s the same things, no matter whether you are operating largely on-line or off.