Does Informal Influence Matter
Inside Leadership Teams?

Introducing the 5% Rule for Leadership Teams

Most people readily accept that some employees have much more influence than others. They also accept the #ThreePercentRule of Innovisor, where we documented with data and research of hundreds of companies that 3% of employees shape the perceptions of up to 90% of their colleagues.

But what about leadership teams? – do the same influence dynamics exist in leadership teams?

Question: Do the same influence patterns exist in leadership teams?

Personally, I have had serious doubts. I felt that leaders were much more likely to play by the rules set by the organizational structure, processes, and procedures. To clarify confusions and doubts behind closed doors in dialogues with their superiors.

I was WRONG!

Three Years of Research Reveals the 5% Rule for Leadership Teams

About three years ago Innovisor started to investigate influence dynamics inside large leadership groups. We knew, if the same dynamics existed, then we would be able to dramatically transform the way stakeholder analysis & management takes place in Change Management programs.

During our investigations of about 50 large leadership teams, we have discovered that the exact same influence dynamics exist amongst leaders as we see amongst employees. Some leaders have much more influence than others (and their influence cannot be explained by their rank!). And a select group of leaders – about 5% of the leaders – shape the perceptions of up to 90% of their colleagues in the leadership team.

5% Shape Perceptions in the Leadership Team

The 5% are the leaders that colleagues seek out when they try to make sense of decisions, revised strategies, procedures & policies, or some new corporate communication messaging material that they really do not understand, but are required to cascade out through the ranks.

Interestingly, 5% carry the same traits as we have seen amongst employees.

They are very often not ‘on the radar’ of the top executives AND the group has an overrepresentation of introverts (NB! We only have case-based evidence for this one).

What is the Implication of Knowing the Existence of the 5%?

Imagine how these ‘informal leaders’ in the leadership team could help your next change program be successful by removing obstacles, eliminating friction, and countering resistance?

I am sure my imagination cannot come up with a close-to-full list of potential usages.

Hence, I would like to invite you to co-create with me. What would you do, if you knew these 5%? – and how would you do it? I will use your input in a follow-up post, and of course, give credit.

Thank you for your input!

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