WOW: December 2020 newsletter edition

In case you have missed it, here's our December 2020 edition of JOIN21 newsletter!


Networks and competitiveness!

I welcome you to this month’s newsletter with a story about our first customer.

When we met in late 2017, this chain of 150 IT resellers was facing fierce competition and considering a merger that would take them to 800 employees from 550. The challenge: to merge dealers that often compete and find a way to improve innovation, agility, and productivity by turning their collective expertise into an asset.

We gathered organizational network insights from all the employees through a survey, as well as data from their collaboration technology. The resulting
network map showed how many leaders and employees were entirely unconnected. Furthermore, a few central people had become communication bottlenecks, creating silos across the retail chain.

By processing the new insights, visualizing where the expertise sat, and connecting the unconnected created new energy as dealers began to collaborate to beat the market’s incumbents. They have worked diligently to discover their organization’s untapped potential. The CEO recently told me that, in the middle of a pandemic, they have managed to be agile and work across units to make 2020 their best ever year.

The story shows a way in which smaller companies can outcompete larger companies – by leveraging the internal network of expertise and connecting it to the external networks of customers, partners and suppliers.

In our last newsletter, I wanted to inspire us as individuals to ‘being networked’. This time, I hope you will give your department or
organization a new look and ask to help set its expertise and energy in motion to outcompete the competition.

In Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 65% identified the shift from functional hierarchies to team-centric and network-based organizational models as “important” or “very important.” Yet only 7% of the respondents believed that their organizations were “very ready” to execute the shift to network-based models – and only 6% rated themselves as “very effective” at managing cross-functional teams.

It’s time to step up, folks 😊

Merry Christmas, good reading and stay connected!

Jan Taug, PhD          

P.S. After launching the mini-course last month, we have completed our full course and launched it on Udemy! It is now exclusively available to you for FREE only during this December, so make sure to enroll by clicking on the banner below! 👇

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization made a special case for Father Christmas, and he is going to be top of our list.

—Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, responds to a member of the public who says her three children were asking if Santa will be prioritized for a vaccine.


The pandemic has quickly created a more distributed and online-driven way of work, driving our digital interconnectedness to new heights. The traditional top-down model of leadership is out of sync with this new normal, opening up for a more collaborative organizational mindset.


Tech innovations, video stand-ups and collaboration tools. Nothing works unless you understand how your people actually work. Find out how to get the most out of your network data.



Encourage your leaders to see the big picture, says a favorite writer of ours, Justin Bariso. Do this through your messaging, like Musk. Or by the way you organize your teams, like Jobs.



The “hybrid workplace” is Silicon Valley’s latest buzzword, as tech companies are giving people more options for how and when and where they get stuff done. A good run-through of how defining companies are handling the new flexibility.



Use the pandemic to redefine the workplace and what it means to be productive, Evan Welsh suggests. Take the new data that your new technologies, processes and people are churning out daily and rethink your leadership dashboard. Amen to that!


Harvard Business Review

Some best practices have become clear for managing remote workforces. Barbara Z.Larson summarizes some simple techniques to stimulate the spontaneous and unstructured conversations that many of us are missing these days.


Academy of Management

Networking behaviors can drive a gender gap in career achievement. This study shows that both genders engage in schmoozing to get a job, but women also engage in scouting –networking aimed at finding employers and career options that give women a fair chance at professional success.


Harvard Business Review

It may be temping for corporations to imagine an office-less future. But that’s unlikely to happen, writes ‘creative class’ guru Richard Florida. In fact, questions about where a company places their offices matters now more than ever.