Did you know that the most influential people in the organization are not those at the top of the organization chart, but usually people who are most central to the social network? Being a leader doesn't just mean that you are the boss, it can also mean you influence the organization through your informal relationships. Sometimes the most influential person is someone you would least expect--these leaders are often hidden from view, but wield tremendous impact on the organization.
How can some people have so much influence, but be unknown to the organization's leaders? For starters, leaders are rarely good at knowing the pattern of relationships in the organization, for example who shares information with whom or who goes to whom for advice.In fact, leaders are terrible at seeing these relationships accurately. Second, formal leaders simply don't consider influence from this social perspective. Further, we find that leaders tend to think they know about the social relationships in the organization, but are usually wrong.
The good news is it is possible to assess not only the structure of key relationships in the organization, it is possible to assess how well a person "sees" these relationships. This insight is incredibly powerful. It is also possible to assess the areas of the organization where few people are interacting, collaboration is low, and where informational bottlenecks are slowing the flow of information.
To learn more about how you can assess your social world, and your knowledge of it, let's set up a time to chat.