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October 31, 2011

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Rowan Hetherington

Hi John, this is one of the best posts I've seen on the impact of digital and social for leaders.

I agree with your six points. I recently posted on 'Building Constituency' - an approach for open leaders which covers some of these points, but with a focus on how leaders can drive progress today.

I like your description of why influence is now a key leadership skill (as opposed to relying on authority). I see 'influence' being connected to:
- listening (and analysing for insights), because it's hard to be influential unless you're providing true relevance and value.
- the ability to build constituency; to lead project teams with members from different reporting lines, who share a common vision.
- the ability to drive the process changes required (selling in the concept of innovative, agile, cross functional teams and then mobilizing those teams - moving away from traditional departmental and internal/external organizational structures).

I also agree they must be excellent communicators - able to communicate up, down and sideways (internal and external to the organization) - and willing to collaborate and share the limelight with their whole organization of great communicators.

I'd add that it's critical leaders have the IMAGINATION to be "be creative and innovative" (the new premium skills you mentioned). Mary Murphy reported from the recent THINK Forum in NYC that "the only barriers to building a smarter planet are imagination and leadership".

I hope your post reaches far and wide and helps leaders understand how the game has changed. The next question: how might a traditional leader learn these new skills?

I look forward to hearing more!

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