WOW: November 2020 newsletter edition

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


The power of being networked!

My childhood home was a place for friends to meet.

The Norwegian army taught me that the toughest challenges could only be solved by working together.

As an entrepreneur, I learned that cross-functional expertise is the main key to innovation and value creation.

Regardless of where you are in life, value creation is always about creating arenas in which to connect people and set knowledge in motion.

For my PhD work, I studied just how critical relational capital is for innovation, competitiveness, engagement and trust in increasingly
distributed organizations. Internally in the organization, as well as externally with customers and partners.

I researched a global telecom company with the majority market shares in 14 countries. With network data from all their global business units, we uncovered a massive lack of cross-border flow of information and expertise. The corporation then plugged these network insights into simple tools and successfully boosted engagement, product innovation and collaboration across units, professional roles and areas of expertise. It aided the corporation in its move from holding company to a global company.

I have since had the privilege to apply the same network leadership approach to enhancing the performance of local companies, clusters, municipalities, and state agencies. 10 years as Associate Professor at BI Business School in Oslo strengthened my belief in connecting knowledge across domains and cultures.

Now, the pandemic has forced us to
work in new ways. For many organizations, knowledge-flow is quickly decreasing, with a reduction in the serendipitous meetings so important to innovation and growth. At the same time, most people work longer hours (Microsoft, 2020) and evenings (BCG, 2020) and feel more productive (Hansen, 2020) with a better work-life balance.

Leaders and employees accustomed to more traditional leadership models based on hierarchy and clear chains-of-command are struggling to adapt and calling for new tools and philosophies tailored to understand networks.

The field of Network Leadership lets leaders master the distributed organization and leverage the positive effects of the remote work era to secure better knowledge flow, productivity, innovation, engagement, trust, and growth.

In these challenging times, more than ever the lesson of my childhood still holds true: Good things happen only when you connect the right people and facilitate your networks.

Good reading and stay connected!

Jan Taug, PhD, CEO and Founder, JOIN21

P.S. make sure to check out our free mini-course about Network Leadership! Click on the banner below and enroll to
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Words like ‘bone,’ ‘pubic,’ and ‘stream’ are frankly ridiculous to ban in a field where we regularly find pubic bones in streams.

—A participant at a virtual paleontology conference tells Vice what profanity filters can do.


The IT & mobile business solutions distributor, with 150 expert resellers and 800 employees across Norway, was facing fierce competition and a challenging merger. Network Leadership created a path to greater knowledge flow and performance across the new and bigger organization.


‘Breaking down the silos’. ‘Distributed work’. ‘Increased operational flow’. Do leaders truly understand the essence of these buzzwords? And do they have the courage to break down the silos that they themselves built?



A really interesting piece from McKinsey about how to ensure that agile teams – which traditionally excel when their members are co-located – remain effective now that COVID-19 has forced them to work remotely.



This essay by Sonia Blignaut is about looking at organizations not as machines, but as living entities — ecosystems or organisms – that we have to look at them as flow systems to find new ways of working, new organizational structures and new forms of management.


Commercial Observer

Just as Telenor is realizing that its embrace of Working From Home was a tad too cuddly, Black Rock CEO Larry Fink is the latest business leader to not see a full return to the office. Maybe just 60 per cent.


LinkedIn post by Yannik Leusch

Used right, network leadership can be a scientific method to measure previously hidden organizational KPIs and at best, provide a completely new perspective on organizations. Kienbaum used it to understand and visualize the effect of their own organizational transformator.


Harvard Business Review

Heard the word “burstiness” before? As many organizations are learning that managing the flow of communication among remote teams is tricky, this research shows that bursts of rapid-fire communications, with longer periods of silence in between, are hallmarks of successful teams.


Harvard Business Review

Are we really, truly embarking on a new paradigm in work? While we will be less remote in ten years than many leaders think, we will be more remote than we thought last year. This article is a great argument for trying out some Network Leadership.