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Todd Dewett Examines the Top 25 Leadership list
This is the second HRExaminer Top 25 List focused on Leadership. You can see the first Top 25 Online Influencers in Leadership from July 2010 here.
Introduction by Dr. Todd Dewett – Founding Member, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board – Full Bio
Overall, I think this list is similar to the first. Specifically, the new list can be interpreted as demonstrating what I have said before: one group does not own leadership; everyone owns it. Unlike other disciplines and thought domains, leadership is the one generic body of knowledge understood and used by any and all high performing professionals. Thus it is logical to expect a list of the nature we see. The list is only half dominated by names from the leadership space and is then populated by a list of HR types with a few outsiders thrown in (e.g., a CPA, someone in the corporate social responsibility space, and someone in the restaurant space).
The most interesting new insight is the complete lack of famous names. Our one famous person, Tom Peters, is gone. The remaining names certainly have some amount of cache within their fields, but none have any visibility in the larger business world. This reinforces the original finding that the emerging world of social media is a new frontier not well understood – or at least not embraced – by the old guard of well-known leadership personalities. Once again this suggests a huge opportunity in the next few years for new voices to find large audiences – not because of the quality of their message (which may or may not be evident) but because of their mastery of new social media channels.
It may also be true that the changes in the list reflect an effort component. Feeding the social media beast is hard work. It takes dedication and creativity to constantly create new blog posts, tweets, etc. One can always comb through our algorithm for answers, but logically it is important to note that one explanation may be pure tenacity.
One final insight that applies to both versions to date concerns the lack of businesses on the list. Theoretically, a company could show up. They use blogs, twitter, etc. – yet we see none. Yes, the algorithm we are using is geared towards examining channels typically associated with individuals or small groups or companies that are very blog driven. Nonetheless, this suggests a fascinating lack of knowledge on the part of large companies. They could unleash an army of bloggers following trending topics and words that create relevant content (i.e., related to the trends as well as their companies).
This thought makes me wonder if we are now simply in the wild-west stage of social media and, in general, web presence. The future may be far more competitive both in terms of knowledge and use of social media channels and in terms of creating truly compelling high quality content.
There’s a vast difference between the theory of HR and its daily practice. In theory, HR is a well toned hunk of strategic muscle and a competitive weapon for the organization it serves. In reality, the day to day work of HR is a bag of cats and dogs that depend significantly on the company’s position in its economic life cycle. The single most ineffective thing you can do is generalize about what HR should be.
The role of HR depends on industry, region, company demographics, and organizational culture. In organizations where physical safety is a primary issue, HR takes a role that looks more like surveillance and policing. In information oriented operations, just the opposite is the case. Effective HR ranges from good cop to bad cop with all of the variations in between.
In a few companies, HR is a transformational function. Brad Warga‘s pioneering efforts at Harrah‘s don’t look much like the amazing endeavors at Cisco. What they share in common is an emphasis on tight business integration and innovation in the function. The similarity is in the questions posed by HR, not the implementation details or so-called best practices.
But it’s not for everyone.
When you look out at the market for workforce planning tools, HR Analytics and other leading edge offerings, what you see is an emphasis on sameness. Inform (now a part of SuccessFactors), OrcaEyes and other Analytics firms all assume that the question is about making apples to apples comparisons against standard data types.
The idea in most analytics implementations is to wire existing data into predetermined buckets thereby producing standard metrics that can be measured against the rest of the industry. It’s not a recipe for transformation, innovation or competitive edge. Rather, it’s a way of building common language amongst allies and competitors.
At its core, the HumanConcepts toolset is designed to facilitate organizational rearrangement. By moving blocks around on an interactive org chart, users can see the effects of various decisions to move, grow, shrink or reengineer. It’s like a prototyping tool for potential organizational changes.
I’ll tell you more about the core functionality in a later note.
What they realized, somewhere along the line, is that the HumanConcepts toolkit is a great way to visualize and quantify an organization. Just like the other analytics companies, the wicker data together from the customer’s sources. The difference in the HumanConcepts process is that you can use business rules to visualize various aspects of the organization.
HumanConcepts creates a powerful way for organizations to define and resolve the things that really matter. Rather than predefined question sets, the system makes the core data visible so that intelligent hypotheses can be made after the data is in the system.
It’s the difference between standardization and ad hoc query development. The HumanConcepts offering redefines the top end of the analytics and workforce planning markets.
Tomorrow, we’ll tell you how.
You may not be aware of the fact that the company sold its SMB unit (OrgPlus) to Administaff. Unlike most of the players in the HR Industry, HumanConcepts understands that you can not effectively deploy in both the Enterprise and small to medium markets at the same time. Administaff, who serve the SMB market, are a logical choice. Even the largest companies in our niche have trouble straddling both the SMB and Enterprise market. Sales cycles, implementation requirements, marketing, account management, and a host of other business aspects are way different in one setting than they are in the other.
Putting the SMB functions in the hands of someone with that sort of expertise gives HumanConcepts the ability to focus
The flagship HumanConcepts offering facilitates rapid creation, management and communication of detailed organizational charts. In addition, OrgPlus provides a framework that facilitates detailed workforce analysis by bringing together data from accounting, HR, sales, performance management and other business systems into a dynamic and intuitive visual display. By creating this visual context, management, human resources professionals (HR), and employees better understand their organizational structure, increase productivity and are able to more easily plan for change.
If that sounded too much like gobbledygook, let me refine the main points:
- The HumanConcepts tool looks and behaves like an organization chart application
- One of the many clever things you can do is use the org chart as a way of viewing data about the organization
- The HumanConcepts team is really good at data integration
- The org chart displays information with a foundation in business rules. So when the data says X, you can make the box red, highlight it, add a badge and so on.
- This gives you the ability to see the organization’s data as you’s use it: to make decisions about subsets of the operation.
One really big retail client looks at 130 pieces of information per employee.
Imagine what you could do with a tool that allowed you to visualize variations in retention, financial performance, performance management data, span of control across hundreds of departments or stores.
When I first saw the product, I thought of it as “George Clooney in a box“.
With the tool, you can design and redesign the organization (for growth, shrinkage or realignment). Start with the organization as it is. Make the changes. Get the right buy ins and approvals. Push the button.
The HumanConcepts product:
- Begins with a goal ie. I need to eliminate an office, what should I do? -
- Creates Evaluation Criteria that can be used to make staffing decisions -
- Helps make decisions and exceptions.
- Tells you the implications of decisions for regulatory purposes. -
- Enables management of people movements at scale.
- Increases agility.
It’s been a real hit through the downturn and is now proving its worth as companies begin to grow.
One of the strengths of the HumanConcepts approach is that it doesn’t focus on the repetition of best practices. Rather, it offers a relatively blank slate from which you can ask and answer questions that actually matter to your organization. Instead of offering abstract wisdom to a closeted group of workforce planners, the tool works best when there are real problems to be solved rooted in the organization’s actual performance data.
It seems like a harbinger of things to come.
In The Know v 2.04 Hodgepodge
This week’s five links are a collection of cats, dogs and a chicken.
We’re working in a time of extreme social change. It’s really hard to tell the difference between noise and information. Even honesty and integrity are hard to fathom.
In this sort of climate, people search desperately for a box to fit into. Certainty and absolutes, even if they roll off the tongues of idiots, are regular substitutes for the harder to swallow truths of ambiguity and hard choices. Each of thes five pieces point to an important trend that is changing the face of our shared reality.
- The 5 Dumbest Management Concepts of All Time (hat tip: Julian Seery Gude)
Coming in at number 3 …. Human Resources.
“What better way to let people know that they’re expendable commodities than calling them “resources”? Indeed, the entire concept of HR is designed to make the process of dealing with real live people as bloodless as dealing with electricity or shipments of iron ore.”
- The Gospel of Gaming
A review of a book on the creeping (and important) influence of gaming on personal productivity and transformation. We’re seeing internal competitions for wellness and workflow in small, agile organizations. It’s just a question of time before it hits the bigs.
“To me, even the two hours a day most gamers spend on computer games – in apparently escapist activities, disengaged from the real world – is almost inconceivable. Yet the more I read of Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, the clearer it becomes: I may not own a games console, or spend time sat in front of a screen playing shoot ‘em ups, but I am nonetheless constantly playing games in my daily life. What’s more, they don’t distract me from reality, they make it better.”
- Are we overconnected?
The book eveyone will be reading this year? Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet by Bill Davidow.
For Davidow, technology transforms society in a Goldilocks way. Too few connections and things just plug along. Too many connections and it feels like the world is flying apart; the situatiion is inherently unstable. Just the right amount of connection and the transformation happens.
- The Corporate Learning Factbook 2011: Benchmarks, Trends and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market
Bersin and Associates is the premier source for information about best practices and the constant evolution of the HR Market. Here’s the executive summary.
“The Corporate Learning Factbook 2011 is the U.S. training industry’s most complete and comprehensive study of corporate training budgets, spending, delivery volumes, staffing, and trends. In addition to facts and statistics, this annual report contains extensive market analysis as well as guidelines on the use of this information for benchmarking your own organization with the study findings.”
- Fried Chicken – Seen around the web:
Our teacher asked us what our favorite animal was, and I said, “Fried chicken.”
She said I wasn’t funny, but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else in the class laughed. My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.
I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef.
Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.
The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, just like she’d asked the other children. So I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.
She sent me back to the principal’s office again.
He laughed, and told me not to do it again.
I don’t understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn’t like it when I am.
Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most. I told her, “Colonel Sanders.” Guess where I am now…