When I first decided to write The Social Web Analytics eBook 2008, I had no idea it would attract over 10,000 downloads in 100 days. And why does it continue to be downloaded 1,000 times a month? In hindsight, the reasons are plain:
- Listening to and learning from all our stakeholders is a widely and keenly felt desire
- Acquiring a grasp of the reputation our company and brands have notched up must constitute a key organisational performance metric for anyone
- Understanding how our interaction and dialogue with our stakeholders contributes to the achievement of our marketing and communications objectives helps us quantify how well we are meeting those objectives.
If I was looking for one word to sum up these needs and their focus then I'd borrow from our Chairman Larry Weber's gravitation to the word INFLUENCE.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the noun "influence" as:
- the power or ability to affect someone’s beliefs or actions
- a person or thing with such ability or power
- the power arising out of status, contacts, or wealth
- the power to produce a physical change.
And we're interested in four flows of influence:
- our own influence with our stakeholders
- our stakeholders influence with us
- our stakeholders' influence with each other
- our competitors' influence with our stakeholders.
(I define stakeholders simply as any and every party with whom we have or would like to have a relationship and interaction for our organisational success. And I define competitors here loosely as any party whose organisational objectives for influence are at odds with our own.)
So really understanding influence is pivotal to organisational performance management, and Social Web Analytics (SWA) is a critical component in understanding influence.
Organisational Performance Management
The days of assessing organisational performance solely with financial quantities are long gone. Financial reports, such as the ‘profit & loss’, look backwards. They are, in the language of performance measurement, lagging indicators that foretell little if anything of an organisation’s ability to meet objectives going forward.
This stuff is often referred to as business performance management (BPM), but I’ve opted here for the wider definition of “Organisational” over “Business” so we can include charitable and governmental organisations for example.
Modern approaches to performance measurement, such as Kaplan's and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard, augment financial measures with leading indicators. In the case of the Balanced Scorecard, the measures can be considered in four perspectives:
- Financial perspective
- Customer perspective
- Internal process perspective
- Innovation and learning perspective.
From my experience of putting the Balanced Scorecard into operation, defining and understanding influence contributes to two of these perspectives. Obviously one of these is the customer perspective, but as you may know if you have read the SWA ebook, I also believe influence, and therefore SWA, should feed directly into product development and innovation. Now that's a new role for public relations consultants!
The Influence Scorecard Meeting
All this exciting stuff has compelled me to host a meeting of those thought leaders from around the world who are defining the measurement of influence for organisational performance management in the 21st Century. The meeting is fuelled by the following two observations.
Firstly, debate about this issue is often narrow and isolated from the organisational performance management informing the board’s assessment and decision making processes, and this is plainly sub-optimal.
Secondly, now that SWA has been in development for a few years, we should be modelling and forging consistent structures and taxonomies of influence data, its translation into operational indices and its application to overall organisational performance management; the Influence Scorecard if you will.
Who should be there to contribute to the debate and set the approach to the Influence Scorecard?
I’d like your help in identifying the 100 people to invite. I’ve started to list organisations and individuals below, but any and all ideas welcome (if you’re up for it personally, please put your name down with appropriate link). The list includes SWA vendor companies, social web experts, and performance management experts.
I have made this post editable by any MarCom Professional member so you can just edit and add people and organisations to this list if you wish. Else do simply leave a comment, linkback, twitter #influencescorecard or email me...
And I’ll keep you posted here on the plans: venue, date, speakers, panels, workshops etc. etc.
I hope you’ll agree this is a timely and important meeting that will leave a legacy, albeit one that will prompt yearly reviews no doubt, and we should have some fun too. I'm looking forward to cracking it with you…
Follow up posts:
13th Feb 2009: Influence Scorecard update
26th June 2009: An outline of the Influence Scorecard
3rd July 2009: "The first Influence Scorecard meeting"