Taking the Lead Online

Welcome to the second HRExaminer Top 25 List focused on Leadership and our first Top 25 List for 2011. In the introduction below, Dr. Todd Dewett highlights the changes in the list and ponders trends in online influence.

Todd Dewett Examines the Top 25 Leadership list

January 27, 2011 – 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).

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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.