When leaders can seek advice from external peers anonymously, it allows them to:
- Bring up sensitive issues. LeaderBridge® not only offers anonymity but makes sure that reached-out-to members (who are also anonymous but have been confirmed by LeaderBridge® to be in senior leadership) are never in the same company. In addition, if leaders want, they can specify that they only reach members who are not from their own industry.
- Lay out new ideas they aren’t ready to bring up internally because they are not fully fleshed out or they don’t want to propose them when they aren’t yet convinced that they’re viable.
- Get input from parties more likely to be neutral because they’re not in the same company.
- Get input from a significant number of leaders at one time, possibly from different industries and different countries.
To help members choose other members they want to reach out to, LeaderBridge® has each member create an anonymous profile that indicates title, industry, and areas of special skills and interests. When members have questions, they can use filters to narrow by rank, industry, and other characteristics which members will receive their question.
The following examples illustrate how anonymity opens up new possibilities for connecting with external peers.
Example One: Oil and Gas
A Chief Marketing Officer is convinced that her company should offer a new product line but can’t get buy in from the rest of the leadership team. She posts the following, anonymously, on LeaderBridge®:
Question: Do you have any ideas on convincing other members of the leadership team to have the company offer a new product line? So far I have no one supporting my proposal.
She chooses LeaderBridge® filters to ensure that her question is received only by C-Suite members who are not in her industry.
She receives two replies and decides to follow up with one member, based on what they have agreed to show in their profile, who posted this response:
Response: I recently won a major battle to have our company explore a new product line. Happy to talk with you if you’re willing to be more specific. E.g., Why is the product line a good idea? What kind of arguments are being made for not pursuing it? Is there anyone who seems to be on the verge of supporting it?
This leads to a continuing dialogue where the CMO explains why the product is important and the arguments raised against it. She also asks what resistance the respondent faced and what helped gain acceptance for the new product.
The respondent explains what his colleagues objected to and how he worked intensively to gain the support of the COO and then moved on to the next most likely person to support his idea.
Example Two: Pharmaceutical
A new Chief Information Officer finds that his approach to getting things done is out of sync with the company culture. He creates his question and decides what filters to apply. This question reaches four CIOs and five other C-suite members, all of whom are not in his industry. He asks:
Question: I’m used to fast tracking new initiatives and I was supposedly hired because of that capability. But now I’m getting direct and implied messages from my peers that “that’s not the way we do things here.” If you’ve had similar experiences or have any suggestions for addressing this, I’d appreciate your thoughts.
He gets three responses and chooses to follow up on two of them, his first choice being the following:
Response: You’re facing a major challenge. Cultures don’t change overnight, even when top leadership says it’s committed to change. I don’t have a silver bullet solution for you but may have some insights if you’d like to discuss it further.
The initiating CIO asks the respondent if ever faced a problem with corporate culture. He replies that the culture was very different, a fast-paced environment where managers sometimes didn’t prepare their subordinates for new initiatives. He dealt with this by meeting individually with two of his colleagues whose approaches had an impact on his own team and did manage to negotiate some accommodation, but he still sees the same culture in place.
The initiating CIO and the respondent agree to set up a live chat on LeaderBridge® to continue their discussion anonymously.
Example Three: Healthcare
Because she’s not being taken seriously by a peer, a female CNO posts a question anonymously to the other CNOs on the platform. She says:
Question: Struggling with peer influence, being automatically dismissed because I am a nurse. Any advice?
Response: I’ve found the best way to address power dynamics like this is similar to ways that gender dynamics should be addressed. Often, it’s unconscious and not intentional. Sometimes it’s as simple as a straightforward one-on-one conversation.
Questioner: I’d like to talk with you more if possible. Would you be willing to do a live chat sometime this week?
They set up a chat on LeaderBridge® and continue the discussion anonymously.
If you think LeaderBridge® could be a valuable tool for connecting with external peers, you can learn more about it and sign up at www.leaderbridge.com. Our Beta launch is currently open only to healthcare industry executives but will be including other industries as we grow.