Top 100 Influencers Progress Report

Top 100 Influencers Progress Report

Posted on 29. Jun, 2009 by in Blog

By John Sumser

I am really surprised by what I’m learning as /component/option,com_jcalpro/Itemid,28/extmode,cal/”>cialis 5 mg daily I tackle the Top 100 Influencers in HR-Recruiting project. Each day, I am surprised by the way that people see the industry. There are entire aspects of the picture that are invisible to some and plain as day to others.

The 10% mark seems like a good point for a status report. Here are the high points:

  • Influence and power are not the same thing. Influence is the ability to shape opinion and increase the probability that something will happen.
  • Very few people seem to understand that Third Party Recruiting is what a successful outsourcing ecosystem looks like. After two generations, there is an informal, eBay style marketplace. Fees are typically reflective of value in spite of the complaints associated with the fees. Generally, the health of the outsourced recruiting ecosystem can be measured by the complete lack of complaints about quality.
  • It’s becoming clear that there are few people who actually have a comprehensive view of the HR-Recruiting Industry. This is caused by a couple of key factors.
    • The past decade has seen a shift in the HR career path. Where generalists used to be the ones getting promoted, today’s HR leaders come from either the Recruiting or the Training (Development) function.
    • When HR leaders change jobs, the six or seven vendors who were a part of the last leader’s regime are changed for a new crop.
    • The emphasis on HR as a Strategic function has come at the expense of good operational thinking.
    • The shift in the HR career path means that many stereotypes about HR flexibility are outdated.
  • There are a number of overlapping /component/option,com_jcalpro/Itemid,28/extmode,cal/”>cialis 5 mg daily silos. While information and ideas percolate around the industry, the various silos are somewhat ignorant of each other.
    • Enterprise organizations do different things and solve different problems than small to medium sized organizations.
    • The industry’s professional associations are generally myopic.
    • The broad temptation to generalize about HR-Recruiting flies in the face of reality. HR-Recruiting is different by industry and region. What works one place doesn’t work in another.
    • There are very few ultimate principles in the HR-Recruiting world. Retention, Development, Organization, Recruiting Strategy and Recruiting Tactics are not in the group.
  • Influence doesn’t have to be flashy to succeed. Good ideas and the ability to execute them are really important.
  • The market for ‘benchmarking’ is really a quest for peers solving similar problems. It’s an underserved market because the desire for professional exchange gets distracted by market influences. There’s no real clearinghouse for the unadulterated exchange of success stories and learnings from failure.
  • Not all smart people are influential. But, most people who are influential are smart. It’s easy to confuse microcelebrity with influence. The difference is usually that influential people don’t set out to be influential.
  • Innovation and influence are different things. Innovation follows a predictable path into the industry. Innovation virtually always enters through the third party recruiting world where speed is the essential differentiate. It moves into small and medium sized business. From there, it goes to other operational parts of HR (learning, talent management) and finally hits the generalist group. This is the reason that legacy HR systems from huge software vendors retain their install base.

I am particularly impressed by the degree to which I am routinely learning something in this process. People who I was certain fit one category end up in another every day. This first 10% has been a good time to learn the ropes.

If you’re following along and have questions or suggestions, I am all ears. I am calling everyone who gets suggested and attempting to figure out the depths of their influence. More suggestions are a good thing. The list isn’t complete yet.

John Sumser is the founder and CEO of TwoColorHat, a company specializing in market strategy for HR – Recruiting Vendors. You can keep up with his other stuff at Follow the rest of the Top 100 Influencers project.

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7 Responses to “Top 100 Influencers Progress Report”

  1. [...] More here:  Top 100 Influencers Progress Report | – The … [...]

  2. Steve Levy

    30. Jun, 2009

    “It’s easy to confuse microcelebrity with influence.”

    John, part of the problem with a list such as this is the debate over what is influence: For me influence is the nexus between thought and action. People who are influential create immutable forces that either push or pull others to new paths; these forces are like “Andy Rooney moments” that inspire others to seek out the answer to the question, “Did you ever wonder why?”

    Microcelebrity might get one followers but many lemmings have gone over cliffs following the leader…

  3. John Sumser

    30. Jun, 2009

    That’s a very important aspect of influence, the scale that includes inspiration and agitation. Direct motivational influence is the holy grail for a lot of people who wish they had more. I know that I turn in some favorite directions when I need this sort of influence.

    I’d love it if you would give some examples of leaders in HR and Recruiting who fit the bill.

    Influence is a broader thing as well. Each aspect of influence involves making action easier. Where power is the ability to directly cause results, influence is the ability to increase the likelihood that something will happen.

    The people who create context, whether its academic theory or the filters that favor one product over another, shape our reality by limiting choice. While that sounds awful, it’s the very important work that editors, writers and event promoters do for the industry.

    There are a good number of practitioners who redefine the realm of possibility. These leaders are willing to experiment with their work while the world watches. They try new things and report results. They make it possible for practitioners in more conservative settings to have a “go by”, a benchmark. They are willing to look foolish in public in pursuit of a better way to do things.

    Then there are the promoters. This is another case in which influence comes through a process of limiting choice. With 80,000 vendors competing for marketplace attention, the only way we get to know about some things is because someone works hard to get us to pay attention.

    There are a few facilitators. These folks get parts of the industry to talk with each other, build connections and share tactics – strategies.

    I am particularly fond of the people who define the language of our world view. These folks wrestle with new ways of doing things and come up with smart frameworks and language. Some examples would include the passive-active candidate question or the ongoing conversation that is trying to define social recruiting.

    Entrepreneurs play a significant role. Being willing to risk the 95% failure rate of a new business startup, this group is one of the great experimental laboratories of the industry (partly because our Industry makes such a small investment in R&D). Often innovation comes to us on the backs of twenty failed small businesses.

    I continue to try to define this broader view of influence. I’d love suggestions of any kind.

    Thanks for starting the conversation, Steve.

  4. John Sumser

    30. Jun, 2009

    Ah, a friend sent me a link to this great article

    She got it from Steve Levy !!

    The article makes it clear that people who have the most influence are not always the best people to follow (thus Steve’s notion about lemmings and cliffs).

    The research “validates the idea of the “Matthew Effect,” so called by sociologist Robert K. Merton after a Biblical passage from the Gospel of Matthew. Popularly paraphrased as “the rich get richer, the poor get poorer,” the Matthew Effect as applied to the research by Fast, Heath, and Wu implies that the more people are talked about, the larger a role they play in society—and the more they will subsequently get talked about. This creates a self-reinforcing ramping up of social prominence that is not necessarily deserved”

    The question of whether or not a person’s influence is ‘deserved’ is a good one to ponder.

  5. [...] the industry, a little context) – Influence Happens in a Context (Why Context is Important) – A Progress Report (The project at 10% [...]

  6. [...] Top 100 Influencers Progress Report | – The Social Network For The Recruiting In… – view page – cached John Sumser details the first portion of his Top 100 Influencers project. In it, he tells the community about key influencers in the Human Resources and Recruiting world. — From the page [...]

  7. [...] 100 Influencers Progress Report By admin | Published: June 29, 2009 Top 100 Influencers Progress ReportThe original content you are reading in RSS format was written by and published [...]