Leading in a Connected World Stanford Business Brief with Rob Cross
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Networks of relationships among employees are increasingly the means by which organizations create value and foster innovation. From ten years of research tracking top-performing leaders at over 60 companies, Professor Cross found that successful leaders manage informal networks to compensate for weaknesses in formal structures, and thus improve collaboration, knowledge-sharing and best practices. In doing so, they are less susceptible to the loss of key contributors whose expertise enables a group to succeed. Top -performing leaders analyze and respond to interpersonal networks differently than leaders who failâ€”in five ways. They identify and adjust staff overloads to minimize bottlenecks. They draw in the "folks on the fringeâ€ of networks by getting newcomers involved with colleagues and reengaging under-connected high performers. They bridge silos to facilitate collaboration across functions, geographies, hierarchy and expertise. They develop surge capacity by ensuring that the best expertise in a network is tapped for new problems and opportunities. And they minimize insularity by coordinating focus across groups on key accounts or business goals. Rob Cross is a professor of management at the University of Virginia and coauthor of two books, including Driving Results through Social Networks: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks for Performance and Growth. He earned his BS and MBA from the University of Virginia and DBA from Boston University.