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This is the fourth in our series of Top 25 Influencers. Prior lists covered the Top 25 Online influencers in HR in general, Recruiting and Talent Management. Today, we unveil the Top 25 Online Influencers in Leadership. That is, we used Traackr (again) to discover which people are the most influential on the subject of leadership.
Dr. Todd Dewett, a professor at Wright State University agreed to partner with us on this project. Dr. Dewett specializes in leadership and organizational effectiveness. We asked him to help tailor the algorithm we used to crawl the web to figure out who matters on the topic of leadership.
If you’ve followed the previous Top 25 lists, you might remember the Traackr process. First, we build a set of keywords thst describe the area under investigation. Traackr then scavenges the web with spiders and scrapers to capture all of the results of searches featuring those terms.
- Reach: This is an estimate of the size of the person’s audience. Website traffic, connections and friends on social media and other factors are weighed and calculated.
- Resonance: This is a measure of inbound links, mentions in other peoples’ content and other proxies for credibility.
- Relevance: This is a measure of the way that the person’s content maps against the original key words. A score of 100 indicates a perfect correlation.
Together, the three measures are combined into a single score which is the foundation of ranking.
Here’s Todd’s view of the project:
“Leadership” and “influence” have been studied and commented upon for ages. It is not clear, however, that they have been examined in light of the quantum changes underway in online communications. Consequently, we sought to examine leadership influence within the realm of popular online social media channels.
Our simple desire was to understand the match, or lack thereof, between more commonly cited measures of influence in the leadership realm (for example, common name recognition or book sales) and influence as measured via activity in social media outlets. An algorithm was developed, the internet was scoured, and the results will be discussed shortly.
First, however, it is important to discuss both influence and leadership a bit further. In a definitional sense, influence is not a difficult concept. To influence is merely to affect indirectly. To bend the behavior of a thing, absent overt forcing. Thus, through some combination of communication skill and intellectual prowess, a preacher can lift a flock, a manager can elevate his team’s performance, and a teacher can be a catalyst for meaningful student growth.
Whereas influence seems straight forward, it becomes more complex when combined with the word “leadership.” Leadership has been practiced for millennia, yet scientifically studied for only a century, give or take. Several unanswered questions remain and, for us, two in particular stand out. First, who owns the intellectual body of knowledge pertaining to “leadership.”
To put it kindly, several major camps have staked a claim to the leadership space. At different times and in different ways, these groups have included business school professors, executive practitioners, military scholars and personnel, political science professors, human resource professionals, and a host of others.
In our view this is odd, given how widely leadership is practiced across so many domains. Somewhat unexpectedly, our results support this notion. The second question concerns whether all versions of influence are created equally. Is it, for example, the same thing for a thought leader to deeply and profoundly influence one person as it is for that leader to mildly influence many thousands of people?
No sane person doubts that Oprah has influenced many millions of people. Chris Argryis likely influenced far fewer people, though we suspect more deeply. Does one have stronger leadership influence than the other?
One thing is certain: the channels of communication available to any though leader today are far more capable than in decades past, and one channel may trump the all – the internet.
We found a number of surprising things this time.
- Finding 1: The list appears to have missed virtually everyone with a name in the leadership business.There are plenty of ways to generate a list that matches predetermined expectations. For instance, Jurgen Appelo has used an algorithm to compile a list of the Top 150 Blogs on Leadership. He combines Google Page Rank, Bing hit count, Alexa Ranking, Technorati Authority, Twitter Grader, PostRank and FeedBurner count into a single measure. (The method is described here). Jurgen’s approach begins with a list of the blogs you want to rank. The Traackr algorithm is more oriented to discovery.
Implication: Established authors and thinkers are losing ground to newer voices.
- Finding 2: No One Group Owns Leadership Thought There are several groups of people who believe they have a clear franchise on the ‘leadership business’. Motivational consultants and authors, the academics who specialize in Leadership and Organizational Development,
leadership trainers, sports organizations and the military are just a few of the groups who think they ‘own’ the franchise. In fact, what seems to be happening is that amatuers, bloggers and social media enthusiasts are developing first mover advantage on the social web. Leadership (and other academic specialties) appear to be in the process of being disrupted.
Implication: Older and more established voices need to learn new communications channels in order to stay relevant.
- Finding 3: There is a Shift in The Importance of Breadth versus Depth Another way of digesting this point is to notice that speed and volume trump ‘quality’ in the current web content environment. As long as search engines reward based on the volume of work, thoughtful and better researched material will fall to the bottom of search results. In a prior time, influence couldn’t be measured in any particular way. These early experiments involve measuring based on output and content. An inherent bias towards quantity will be hard to overcome without sematic search.Implication: Communicating in the new media is critical to being heard.
Here are the key words we used to generate the Top 25 Online Influencers in Leadership list:
“leadership development”,”employee engagement”,motivating employees,”leadership style”,”employee development”,”high performance teams”,servant leader,measuring leadership,”talent management”,”leadership consultant”,”leadership guru”,”management guru”,leadership integrity,leadership trust,leadership strengths,leadership authenticity,”motivational speaker”,”leadership speaker”,”leadership coaching”,”executive coaching”,”leadership communication”,”management style”,”management training”,”personal branding” leader,”executive leadership”
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Joining the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board from Australia and representing the Asia-Pac region is Neil McCormick. Neil has worked in human resources and consulting services for the past 16 years building a repertoire covering human resource management, recruitment consulting, management consulting, talent management, general management and learning and development. He currently serves as General Manager for Talent2, Asia-Pac’s largest HR consultancy. Full Bio
Workforce Strategy at a basic level is the conduit between organisational objectives and the human capital required to deliver those objectives. The focus of Workforce Strategy is not just on the short or medium term. Moreover, it looks to today through the lens of future objectives and informs decision making today with that view.
A lack of focus on end goals means the concentration of effort is always tactical and related to the next milestone and not the overall goal. This can cause many organisations to constantly change direction (somewhat like tacking against the wind and current) and can in turn breed change fatigue, making the efforts needed to move from one direction to another more difficult. Even the most efficient, effective and economic human resources department can only be crisis managers in this scenario.
To concentrate instead on the end goal, and not just that first or (n) milestone, is to gain a far deeper understanding of what the likely nuances of the human resource requirements will be for the achievement of the overall objective. This understanding has the potential to radically change the shape and complexity of the requirements of your human resources as they otherwise may be perceived.
For the purposes of this introduction, the term “end goal” is the documented, forecast position in relation to the longer-term plan of the organisation. The definition of “long term” depends on the industry and the organisation – the length of time is irrelevant. It could as easily be three years as it could be six months. When talking in terms of goals and timelines, it’s extremely important that we are talking about documented positions and agreed upon objectives.
My experience in senior leadership roles across a range of industries and my time and dedication to the HR Consulting space has exposed me to some of the thoughts our readers may also share : “long term”; ”this isn’t for me”, “we’re different”, “we’re too entrepreneurial” “we measure time in weeks not years”, etc. My response is a simple one: If you don’t need your company or division to be more adaptable, agile, flexible or profitable and/or you don’t want certainty of the value of your Human Capital spend then, perhaps, you are correct… But in case you needed another very good reason for the smart companies of the world to pursue a Workforce Strategy…
As the world crawls out of the global financial crisis, the inevitable reality of skills shortages will return. In my home country Australia, we’re seeing unemployment rates of 5% and there are many billions of dollars of projects shelved through lack of human resources. I’m sure we’ve all recognised the impact that the lack of appropriate skilled human resources has had on even the best of planned activities. I wonder if the lack of the forethought of Workforce Strategy will impact on the global recovery? How long will it be before planned expansions or growth will either be shelved or falter due to the lack of skilled human resources?
Over the next few months, Neil will continue to expound upon issues related to Workforce Strategy on HRExaminer including the logic behind it, the differences and inter-relationships between Workforce Strategy and Workforce Planning, how to implement a Workforce Strategy and discussions what successful Workforce Strategy looks like.
Putting HR Out of Business
What if the goal of the HR operation was to put itself out of business? Not as a way of moving on to a better type of HR but as an end in itself. Why shouldn’t HR be responsible for solving a set of problems and then closing the door?
Part of HR’s Public Relations problem stems from the idea that HR should be a permanent fixture. What if that just doesn’t make any sense at all? Who says that the problems HR addresses can’t be settled, wrapped up and dispensed with? Why shouldn’t having an HR function demonstrate a lack of maturity in an organization.
Plenty of organizations, committees, task forces and project teams are convened for a precise purpose, a specific agenda or a fixed time frame. The goal is to solve a problem and disband, to address the issue, design solutions and then go away. Why not HR.
In its current forms, HR rides its host organization like a parasite that extracts a nearly fixed percentage of the organization’s revenue. It’s like a sales tax or the mob’s weekly ‘insurance’ charge. While there is a lot of arm waving, HR finds it nearly impossible to show ROI for the money the company invests. In many cases, there is good reason to think that it’s actually double tax… you pay a percentage of revenue to get a function that slows things down.
A jaundiced eye notices that HR is a catch all for the cats and dogs that no other function wants. Providing the glue that holds employees to the organization is the best description that can be mustered. As the need for that glue evaporates, one wonders about the relevance of the department.
What would we miss if HR just went away?
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In The Know v1.24
Five links to stay abreast if the trends shaping HR.
- Regulating Distributed Work (Why It’s a Good Idea)Crowdsourcing and mechanical turks are reshaping the way that work gets done. These employees are not specifically addressed in current employment law. The author makes the case for increased oversight as a way of preventing mobsploitation (a cynical word for “crowdsourcing”). It is a good lead in for Tips for Using Starbucks as Your Office
- Challenges of the Social Technology Industry, July 2010 EditionJerimiah Owyang is one of the leading analysts of the social media phenomenon. This article presents a matrix of the issues and opportunities that the social media tsunami (and the information explosion in general) creates. From talent shortages to the rise of the amateur, the generational technology shift favors participants over administrators. Owyang crams a year’s worth of insight into a ten by four matrix.
- How To Run a Great Unconference Session
For the most part, unconference sessions leave a lot to be desired. While the underlying idea, that we’re all peer learners, is an important insight, sessions are usually labored and flat. The typical format, which gives everyone an equal footing in the conversation, limits the level of discussion to the weakest link. This piece will help you think about how to prepare and deliver a winning unconference session.
- Why today, June 30, 2010 is my last day on Twitter
Jerry Albright, a social media recruiting pioneer, is leaving Twitter. Why? It doesn’t work as a recruiting tool. He says:
The people I’ve met have enlightened me, made me laugh, think, share and grow. Unfortunately none have helped me provide the services I am (hopefully) paid to provide to my clients. Sorry – but that’s the reality.
- Hopeful Monsters and the Trough of Disillusionment
Where will the next breakout HR tools come from? This is a summary of a session at FOO Camp (an interesting annual get together of smart Silicon Valley types). Using the Gartner hype cycle as a foundation, the authors note that real breakthroughs often come from technologies that were originally hyped but fell into disfavor.
There’s an emerging movement. It’s something like the slow food movement as it applies to work. Slow food is an antidote to fast food. It’s a part of the Slow Movement which features websites like href=”http://www.slowplanet.com/blog/home/”>Slow Planet. Slow is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace; it’s about working, playing and living better by doing everything at the right speed.
There is a subset of the Slow Movement called Slow Work. It’s like that but not quite.
This thing I’m seeing is about finding dignity in work. It’s about working for the sake of work itself. It’s not about fast bucks and fancy positions. It’s about normal jobs and the fact that they are our new assets. For many, a job is the only remaining asset. Some of us aren’t even that lucky.
After all of the fluff about passion and employee engagement, this emerging trend focuses on the value to be found in a good day’s work. Somehow, in our quest for wealth and status, we lost sight of the fact that even a menial job can be a great job. It’s not really in the hands of the employer, it’s in the hands of the person working.
How you feel about your job and what you get out of it are completely up to you.
As I write, I’m cringing. This sort of idea is so easy to co-opt that I imagine salivating politicos. On one side, the anti-union anti-EFCA forces will hear the word dignity and immediately think soft and “pro-union”. At the other extreme, the PC police and the “cult of nice” will hearthe sweet overtones of dogs sleeping under the desk .
This is not something to be organized by HR. This is not a proposal for a new program. Nor is it a second part of calisthenics while chanting the company slogan. It’s a recognition of a growing mood in the country, maybe the world.
Our problems are not going to be fixed by the things that caused them. Better banking is not how you solve a crisis of confidence in the banks. More credit won’t help a system paralyzed by having used too much credit. Bailing out the perpetrators won’t help us learn the lesson.
Things are so convoluted that nobody knows what anything is worth. Good friend Hank Stringer suggests that we should simply eradicate all debt one day in April. That way, we could start by figuring out which things are important, which have value and which can be jettisoned.
I call it “Just Work”. As in, it’s not just work, it’s just work. (Lifted from Thanksgiving Coffee’s slogan, “It’s not just a cup of coffee, it’s a just cup of coffee.”). Can you hear the overtones of justice, of righteousness without the indignation?
Work is one of those almost sacred (well, maybe it is all the way sacred) things. Doing work for the sake of doing work, not for passion, prestige or performance bonuses is how we built our country the first time. I’m seeing a return to those simpler values. Here are four data points :
- Mike Rowe is the host of an interesting show called “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel. (I don’t have a TV so this is pure speculation). This talk, given at the TED conference, features Rowe talking about a particular job: herding sheep. The video traverses content that might make you uncomfortable if you’re squeamish. But, it’s worth the story to get to the message. The moral is that the worst imaginable jobs are often the source of pride. They are places where real wisdom is created. This was my first taste of “Just Work”
- Peter Weddle, our industry’s own Matterhorn expedition leader, has launched a website for his new book, “Work Strong“. Full of the obvious Lance Armstrong overtones, “Work Strong helps you tap both sides of your brain in learning how to build a healthy career.” In Weddle’s view, a career is not a fantasy of celebrity and enormous wealth. It’s a way to have balance throughout your life.
- The Jobing Foundation, in partnership with the various elements of SHRM and about 50 area employers is giving Phoenix eighth graders a chance to experience work in a hands-on way. Experience Your Future attempts to give young people the opportunity to actually see what people do for a living. The idea is to make planning and dreaming a little more tangible.
- Time Magazine (remember magazines?) says that Jobs Are the New Assets. “All the while, we blissfully ignored a little concept economists like to call human capital. The cognition you’ve got up there in your head — your education and training — it’s worth something. We can extract value not just from our homes and our portfolios but from ourselves as well. The mechanism for extracting that value? A job. “The income you earn from working is like the stream of interest income you might get from owning a bond,” says Johns Hopkins University economist Christopher Carroll. “Think of it as a dividend on your human wealth.”
And there you have it. Just Jobs, the movement to celebrate the power of having a regular job is taking shape. My bet is that when we look back, the renewal won’t really come from big expensive programs. It will come from people going to work and working hard each day.
Please let me know what you’re seeing.