leadership is a full contact sport

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What Makes You Think?


You may have noticed my “donate” button, goal meter, and Donor Wall at various spots throughout my site. What makes me think that you give one single rip about me or my financial commitment around the attainment of my doctoral degree? Well since you asked…

I’m working on something I think you’ll find very valuable

I’m starting deep work on the Quantitative Measurement of Leadership. This matters to you and me because we are often the recipients of gut-feel assessments of our performance – and sometimes it’s how the leadership role you’ve applied for is given to the person who “just felt like a natural fit.” I’ve asked more than 100 business leaders, colleagues, and friends to address the following.

Think of the most amazing leader you’ve had throughout your entire life. Now, eliminate all of the qualitative (feeling) descriptors. What’s left?

try it with your friends and colleagues. What do they say?

The responses I’ve received include blank stares, synapse misfiring presenting as rapid eye movements, and various other unnatural ticks. Other than “she met her numbers this year,” and “she received the highest engagement scores on our annual Q12 survey,” I mostly get “that’s a good question.”

Measuring leadership quantitatively is possible

The amount of data locked up in companies today that will drive the emerging field of Quantitative Leadership Measurement (QLM) is mind-boggling. Here are just a few of the elements I’m studying in my academic and business pursuits.

  • Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) data. HRIS includes all employee records, including education, demographics, performance reviews, certifications, training, compensation, and awards. All of this data adds context to individual performance.
  • Digital Exhaust Data. Your email, calendar, and instant message data at work produce a steady stream of your style, feelings, and decision making. From these data points, we can uncover your sentiment and that of your direct reports, key topics that occupy employees’ minds (like that pending merger that is rumored to drive staff layoffs in the 30% range), and how effective your meetings are.
  • Network Mapping. With network mapping, it’s possible to understand the visible and invisible groupings of who communicates with whom across the org. Sometimes, leadership effectiveness is about reaching across matrixed teams and making a business case for borrowing talent and resources to accomplish goals. If you happen to be a manager who has created an island of tidy independence, you may be underperforming relative to peers.

For now, we’ll skip the available trove of data just the other side of The Creepy Line.

Back to the Money

I’m attempting to accelerate research on this topic by partnering with companies and educational institutions. As you can imagine, companies do not push their internal emails and other sensitive content out to kaggle for experimentation by budding Analytic Translators and Data Scientists. Thus each partnership requires a substantial investment of time and resources. I’m asking you for your support in this quest in the form of a one-time or monthly recurring donation. Proceeds will be used to fund partnership engagements, coursework, and the research assistance talent required to execute.

Thank you and of course please contact me if I can provide further information.

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