#Writing Week – Illustrations on Social Leadership

I’ve managed to complete 14 new illustrations today, which may be a record… as this is a writing week, where i am focussed on completing the Social Leadership 100 Days book, no new writing, but sharing some images as part of #WorkingOutLoud. This first one accompanies a section on how stories clash with other stories.

Social Leadership 100 - Stories

And one here on how ‘Reputation’ is imposed upon us, in response to our actions.

Social Leadership 100 - Reputation

Finally, an illustration that accompanies a section on ‘Social Filtering’ of stories.

Social Leadership 100 - Social Filtering

Enjoy! The book should be available from 1st April, if i get finished this week.

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#Writing Weeks: Setting the Rules

You may have heard me say that i’m trying to take one full week a month for pure writing: it’s a luxury, yes, but i really find value in that type of uninterrupted time, especially when it comes time to tease the work out of this, my first reflective space, into full books and academic articles. This week i’m totally focussed on completing the practical activity book on Social Leadership, so i will just be #WorkingOutLoud and sharing parts of that as i go. Stay tuned to see if i complete it by friday!

Social Leadership 100 - The Rules

Today, an illustration, and some text, around ‘Day 12 – Setting the Rules‘, which explores how we actively ‘set out own rules’ for our Social Leadership.

Day 12: Setting the rules

Once you have chosen your space, you need to set the rules: how will you act?

This can be very simple: I have three.

1. To always be positive
2. To offer constructive advice when i disagree
3. To respond to everyone who engages, whatever their energy

Those who know me will know that these are sometimes aspirational, not always my truth, but I strive for them.

When I am observing others, I try to be positive, because my energy affects others.

When I disagree, I could choose to argue, but I choose to debate, and offer support.

When people bother to engage with my thinking and actions, I try to respond, even if just to say ‘thank you’. When I disagree with what they say or offer, I still try to say thank you, whilst being unafraid to disagree.

What would your rules be?


Sometimes we break the rules, but they act as our scaffolding, our guiding principles. Reflecting upon them, questioning them, making them conscious, is a useful reflective exercise.

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Who Would You Follow: a #WorkingOutLoud Post

More progress with the illustrations for ‘Social Leadership – my 1st 100 days‘ today: this illustration is for an early section that asks ‘who would you follow‘ and why?

Social Leadership 100 - Who Would You Follow

My progress with these is a little slow: I suspect the illustration will take as much time as the writing did, although i have entirely cleared out next week to work on the book, so i should make progress then.

The section that this illustration relates to is reproduced below:

Day 10: I’d follow

Who would you follow?

I would follow: [ANSWER]

Why would you follow them?

Why would people follow you?

Social Leaders do not lead through strength, they lead through consensus, and within set contexts.

If you move beyond your formal authority, why will people follow you?

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Social Leadership Illustrations: Trust & Authenticity

More #WorkingOutLoud as i share another two illustrations from the forthcoming book on ‘Social Leadership – my 1st 100 days‘. The first will accompany the ‘Day 8’ activity, around Trust, which i replicate in full after the illustration:

Social Leadership 100 - Trust

Day 8: Do you trust me

In the research I have done around the Landscape of Trust, we see that 54% of people have ‘low’ or ‘no’ trust in the organisation that they work for: what factors build trust?

These things build trust:

And what factors erode it?

A key role of Social Leaders is to earn the trust of those people around them, and to contribute to the overall Landscape of Trust experienced within the organisation.

To do so may require us to challenge the organisation itself, whenever we feel it lacks authenticity in it’s actions.

Are you ready to champion your community? Are you ready to take a stand?

Social Leadership 100 - Authenticity

The second illustration relates to ‘Authenticity’, and asks if your actions reflect your intent.

I have a large volume of illustration still to go on this, around ninety more images, so i will continue to share as i go and try to hit my original deadline of an early April launch.

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Social Leadership Illustrations: Reputation and the Jigsaw of Community

#WorkingOutLoud today, sharing two more illustrations from the forthcoming book, ‘Social Leadership – my 1st 100 days’. First, an illustration for the activity on ‘Generosity’, which considers how Social Leaders are generous with more than money: they share time, resources, connections, and do so without expectation of reciprocity. Here’s the illustration and, following it, an extract of the activity for that day:

Social Leadership 100 - Generosity

Day 5: Generosity

Social Leaders help others to succeed: who can you help today, and how?

I can do this: [ANSWER]

Our Social Authority is awarded to us by the community: it’s not transactional, but rather based upon the reputation that we earn.

The investment we make into our community, through our generosity, is not made in expectation of immediate reciprocity, but rather to help the community grow.

Social Leadership 100 - Jigsaw

Following that, there’s a section on ‘The Gig Economy’, which this illustration relates to, talking about the jigsaw of skills that you have yourself, and which exist in your wider community.

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The Landscape of Trust Research Project 2017

Last year I prototyped some early work around the Landscape of Trust: in 2017 I’m planning a major research project to build this work out further. The Landscape of Trust will explore how trusts sits within systems: the type of trust held between two individuals, the type of trust held within communities, the trust we hold in technology, and the type of trust held at an organisational level. It’s called the Landscape of Trust because the intention is to produce a map: a diagnostic tool to illustrate what trust means that each of us, and to each part of the system, and to hold meaningful conversations, and make meaningful interventions, to build trust.

The Landscape of Trust Research Project

In other words, we will explore what trust means, and what we do about it. My intention is that this will be one of the largest such research projects available: global and diversified in terms of sector and culture, allowing us to baseline against different industries and communities.

This week I’m working in Washington DC to build out the research methodology and protocol. It will fall broadly into three sections.

In phase 1 we will gather a thousand narratives around trust to build out the landscape. These will fall at the highest level, exploring ‘what trust means to me’, and working down into subcategories, stories of how trust is earned, how it fractures, where it is held, and how it favours. Last year I gathered an initial 120 narrative accounts, and this work will build off that early sketch. The research approach will be a combination of large-scale open collection, and targeted closed groups to fill in the gaps, so some open research through Twitter and LinkedIn, and some closed groups within specific organisations and sectors.

In phase 2 will build a prototype diagnostic: whilst in the first phase analysis will be manual, in the second phase will be looking for automation, and also visual approaches to representing the landscape, and app-based approaches to the diagnostic. Prototype this at scale, intending for at least 1000 open users, and within 10 organisations with at least a hundred participants in each. We will also explore cultural effects at this stage.

The third phase will be about interventions: having prototyped a diagnostic that we can make increasingly robust, I’m particularly interested in how this can be used in a one-to-one context, within groups and teams, and at organisational level. At this stage I will also start to look at multiple language options and explore variance in those.

The prototype work in 2016 was a fascinating insight into the potential of this space: it impacts on every aspect of the Social Age and how we build the Socially Dynamic organisation. For social learning we need high trust communities, in Social Leadership we draw upon those communities and use our social capital to develop trust within them, for co-created change, and to build the Socially Dynamic organisation, we need trust, so trust forms one of the golden threads that runs through every aspect of the Social Age.

Each of the three research phases will run for three months, so the Landscape of Trust research project will run throughout 2017 and I intend to #WorkOutLoud throughout the whole process. I will also be looking to recruit participants through this community. As the project comes together towards the end of the year I will start to work on a book to launch in 2018, but in the meantime I intend to enjoy the experience of exploration and discovery as we wander through the Landscape of Trust.

You can sign up to be involved in the Landscape of Trust research project here.

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Exclusive Communities

Earlier this week i travelled by train, bus and car to visit a friend who lives out in one of the more remote communities. She runs a book club at her church. When she started it three years ago, there were nine members, but now a few have passed away and six remain. She said something that struck me as wise: she felt that it was hard for new people to join the community as the culture within it was so strong. So in May she will stop the group, and reconstitute a new book club in September, so that everyone comes in and feels equal.


Highly coherent communities can become exclusive, not because they are bad, but precisely because their strong internal culture is so successful.

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