The Linked World – Network Models, Qualities, and Applications

I have recently finished reading Linked, a great book by Albert-László Barabási about the network theory and its applications (see my review here). I recommend checking out this book to everyone, as a teaser I’d like to share with you some insights I gained about the networks, and specifically the network models, qualities and applications. Continue reading ‘The Linked World – Network Models, Qualities, and Applications’


Leading in the Online Chaord

The concept of chaordic leadership goes back to Dee Hock, the founder of Visa International and a leading management thinker. In The Art of Chaordic Leadership he defines chaord as “any self-organizing, self governing, adaptive, nonlinear, complex organism, organization, community or system, whether physical, biological or social, the behavior of which harmoniously blends characteristics of both chaos and order”. Continue reading ‘Leading in the Online Chaord’

Seth Godin’s Approach to Leadership

I have recently read and reviewed Seth Godin’s Tribes, and I thought it would be worth sharing some of his insights on leadership.

  • Tribes. According to Seth, tribes are groups of people that share a common interest and have a way to communicate. While most of the leaders leverage the tribe so that it can grow and gain new members, effective leaders transform the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change, and provide tools to improve the communication between tribe members and the leader.
  • Movements. Seth quotes Bill Bradley’s definition of a movement that contains three elements: a narrative that tells a story about the group and the future it’s trying to build; a connection between and among the leader and the tribe; and something to do. Only focusing on something to do is not enough.
  • Tightness. A leader can improve her tribe on two dimensions – its size and its tightness. While most leaders focus on size, sometimes a smaller but tighter tribe works better. There can be many strategies for tightening a tribe, like creating rituals, introducing people to one another, and providing a communications platform for tribe members.
  • Motivation. You can’t become an effective leader when you focus on your benefits. Great leaders focus on the followers and get their compensation from watching the tribe thrive.
  • Creating a Micromovement. Seth shares a step-by-step approach of creating an online micromovement:
  1. Publish a manifesto
  2. Allow followers to contact you
  3. Allow followers to contact one another
  4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement
  5. Track progress
  • Elements of Leadership. Challenge the status quo. Create a culture around your goal and involve others in that culture. Be curious. Use charisma. Communicate your vision of the future. Commit to a vision and make decision based on that commitment. Connect your followers to one another.
  • Positive Deviants. This is the best story I found in this book. Jerry Sternin decided to help starving Vietnamese children. He didn’t send any food to Vietnam though, he didn’t educate the local people either. Instead, he looked for families that were not starving, who learned to thrive in that environment. He told them how special they were, and asked to share their insights and methods with the wider community. These families were positive deviants. Such people are the key to success of any tribe or organization, as they bring a change for better, they challenge and improve the status quo.

If you follow this blog and are interested in the topic, I really recommend you read Tribes, or listen to the free (thanks Seth!) audio version.

Leaders, Influencers, and Managers in the Online World

I’d like to propose some vocabulary to talk about prominent people in the online world – the influencers, the leaders, and the managers.

Influencers – People that change mindsets of their followers. They can be bloggers reviewing the latest gadget, lifehackers proposing the new approach to time management, or connectors suggesting you link up with some of their online friends.

Leaders – Influencers that also make a call for action. Leaders aren’t satisfied when you change your opinion about a product, they want you to buy it. They’re not satisfied with your interest in the lifehack, they want you to implement it. They want you to get in touch with their other friends and start a business together. And if they are true leaders, you do what they want, as it’s the best thing for you to do.

Managers – People that organize online collaboration. They may not be as visible and popular as leaders or influencers, but without them no complex effort can be undertaken online. Some of them are famous – take for example Linus Torvalds who has designed the Linux operating system in a way that allows thousands of contributors to extend and improve it. Implicitly, he has created a management framework to organize the collaboration of software developers around his product.

Where do you fit on this taxonomy – are you an influencer, a leader, or a manager? Or maybe all of them at the same time?

Vision, Passion, and Trust – the Leadership of Banker to the Poor

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus is a great leader. He has created an organization which challenged the status quo that sentenced millions of Bangladeshi people to famine and helped them to manage themselves out of poverty. He has inspired thousands of people to follow his model of microcredit to decrease poverty in many developing nations. He has engaged a multinational corporation to invest in social business and sacrifice part of its profit to increase the well being of poor children.

After reading Muhammad Yunus’ book – Creating the World Without Poverty – I believe that there are three traits that have made him such a fantastic leader. His leadership comes from vision, passion, and trust. Continue reading ‘Vision, Passion, and Trust – the Leadership of Banker to the Poor’

Creating a World Without Poverty

I’ve just finished reading the book from Muhammad Yunus – the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner. It is an inspiring book that can touch your heart and motivate you to fight against poverty. At the same time, it did not quite match my expectations in terms of content, so I’d like to make clear in this review what you should and should not expect from this great book.

First of all, Muhammad Yunus presents his vision of the social business. It is a powerful idea based on challenging the assumption of one-dimensional human beings that aim at maximizing profit. This concept lies at the core of established economic theories, and supports the current notion of the business that should maximize value for its shareholders. The social business is totally dedicated to solving social or environmental problems. It is different from charities or NGO’s as it does not generate losses, and it’s different from profit-maximizing businesses as it does not pay dividend. Continue reading ‘Creating a World Without Poverty’

Blog Action Day: Today, Think of Your Poor (Grand-) Grandfather

Today is Blog Action Day and thousands of bloggers write about poverty. I would like to ask you to stop for a moment and think of your poor (grand-) grandfather. If none of your grandparents suffered from poverty, think of another poor relative (and for sure you will find one if you track down the history of your family).

My grandfather suffered extreme poverty during the time of World War II. He was five years old when the war started in Poland in 1939. Together with his parents, four brothers, and a sister, they lived on a small farm in Dulcza Wielka. The house was burnt to ashes by the German troops as they marched through the village, and the family had to separate in order to survive. My grandfather, his sister, and their mother went on to another village, where they begged for shelter and food. They were extremely hungry, and my grandfather was close to death from malnutrition. He was saved by a Russian soldier who saw the dying child and took him to a mobile army hospital, where he was treated.

After the war ended, the family of my grandfather reunited and came back to the farm. They had to rebuild the house, and replant the land, which was another period of poverty and hunger. Slowly, the land started to yield crop and the family managed themselves out of poverty. Continue reading ‘Blog Action Day: Today, Think of Your Poor (Grand-) Grandfather’