Dethroning managers, demystifying movements: two great pieces via LinkedIn

As an internal communicator who has been working on building a constituency to challenge traditional thinking in our profession, the flow of articles through LinkedIn has often been interesting but rarely essential.

So I was very surprised last week to see two posts that weren’t just great but really important: a piece challenging the centrality of line managers to internal communication, and an article providing a methodical approach to turning an idea-based business into a full-blown movement.

In their post titled “Do Women Have Fewer Teeth Than Men?, my friends at Innovisor in Copenhagen first challenge the idea of revealed truth (the idea that women had fewer teeth than men was first raised by Aristotle and then not formally questioned for many years).  They then take dead aim at the idea that managers have a central role in employee engagement and internal communication, and fire away at Gallup’s popular but controversial Q12 survey for having 11 of its 12 questions subject to the direct control of these line managers.  Then, comparing these surveys with social analytic research on the real world influence of peers on engagement, Innovisor claims that peers are actually four times more important in terms of providing support, guidance and inspiration to employees than managers actually were.

Whether Innovisor’s social analytic data is really applicable globally, it nonetheless represents the first real data-based challenge to the idea of line manager supremacy as it comes to internal communication, an idea hardwired into many of the metrics communication pros have to live with, as well as the (often flawed) strategic assumptions they are expected to fulfill.  As these findings are epic, this article is important.

Another important LinkedIn article is Sharon Savariego’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Movement Leaders,” which aims to help organizations make the leap from being merely commercial businesses to purpose-fuelled “movements” combining employees, customers, advocates and activists onto a single platform. Even thought Savariego’s piece aligns well with her current product, an organizational communication platform called mobilize, its collection of considered, methodical steps and its ability to get readers to think beyond the traditional notion of the organizational firewall makes her piece a worthy read that changes the terms when if comes to defining an organization.

Seen anything great about internal communication, organizational software, or power and politics in the workplace? Please share your ideas in the space below.