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Strategic Leadership Systems

Dr Michelle Mahdon and Professor Kristin Cullen Lester discuss why organisations need a clearer understanding of internal networks.

24 October 2022

An offer to help you see the invisible within your organisation

CEOs – What keeps you awake at night?

  • Failing to meet performance expectations – how can you correct course?
  • Finances are being squeezed – how can you make your organisation even more efficient?
  • Pressures on everyone are increasing – how can you ensure staff wellbeing?
  • Struggling to implement culture or other large-scale strategic change – how can you make sure it sticks?
  • Working hard to attract and recruit a diverse workforce – how can you determine if you’ve achieved true inclusion?

How can we help you solve these issues?

Networking diagnostics help pinpoint the places to target interventions to help these issues.

Mapping out how, where, and why people communicate and collaborate across an organisation tells you what is actually happening, moving beyond insights from general surveys of what people ‘think’ or how things should go based on an organisational chart.

Network vulnerabilities are difficult to see without conducting an analysis, yet they can significantly undermine an organisation’s ability to achieve strategic goals, efficiently use resources and promote staff wellbeing.

Understanding the networks of top teams of leaders and how they work together is particularly critical to getting an effective Strategic Leadership System. Breakdowns in this key system, which the network analysis reveals, can put pressure on employees and cause inefficiency in your organisation and failure to meet your strategic or commercial goals.

What could mapping your network reveal? Opportunities to…

  • Improve consensus on the future direction and priorities of the organisation – even with overall buy-in, teams can differ in how they prioritise strategic goals and believe the organisation should work toward them.
  • Reduce communication bottlenecks created by an over-reliance on key individuals to gather and disseminate strategic information.
  • Ensure the top team hears from the different levels and groups by assessing upward influence from lower to higher level managers and which teams are having strategic conversations with the ‘top team’.
  • Address priority misalignment, which can lead groups to work at cross-purposes rather than for the good of the organisation as a whole.
  • Build trust and perceptions of competence between and within groups that lead different parts of the organisation.
  • Promote inclusion by focusing diversity, equity, and inclusion goals looking beyond representation to the participation of diverse groups in strategic conversations.

Social network diagnostics is a particular type of analytics that brings the power of data into your hands to understand and address these issues.

How can you map your organisation’s network?

Join our project to get personalised analysis of your organisation’s social networks.

Professional, scientific, and fast feedback to help you target interventions efficiently and effectively. We bring the expertise of networks to you.

Cost: Currently, we have grant funding for this project and therefore we are delighted to be able to offer this project at no financial cost to you.

What sectors? We work with organisations from many sectors including energy, finance, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, higher education, scientific research centres, commercial services, emergency response, non-profits.


Dr Michelle MahdonDr Michelle Mahdon is Research Fellow from the University of Exeter Business School.



Dr Kristin Cullen-LesterDr Kristin Cullen-Lester is Assistant Professor of Management at The University of Mississippi.

Start today. Change tomorrow.

If you would like to contact us to discuss potential study options, research partnerships or other collaborations then please complete the form below and we will be in touch.