I talked about them in my session on talent and noted how bias can lead to poor identification of these people as well as the passing over of those whose contribution is more social in nature, ie though other people rather than directly relating to their own objectives.
George Houston from CCL noted the importance of relationships within the Arab States and Sardeek Love reference the idea of unconditional trust (or love!) which I think is a measure of the quality of relationship.
Arthur Shelley and David Gurteen both talked about the social nature of learning and knowledge management. I think they made important points but to me, the real value of these social processes is the social outcomes - relationships - they create.
But the most in-depth focus on relationships was provided by Miguel Lobo from. He suggested that as information, knowledge and coordination all flow through relationships that these are the source of creating value in a complex economy. We therefore need to talk about intuition and emotion.
The focus on intuition means we need to be careful about our own biases. Lobo provided some good examples of anchoring bias though to me, it's the way these biases impact on the way we identify and treat particular people which is most interesting and important - see also my recent post on the gender pay gap.
The focus on emotions means that we need to pay attention to people as well as to content eg people will naturally collaborate with people they most like, not with those who have the best ideas.
Whether we like someone is based largely on reciprocity, and on homophily, or 'like of same'. This doesn't have to mean cloning - a good leader creates new group identities rather than reinforcing existing categories. Diversity is essential for performance.
Leaders also need to create excitement as the activation of our emotions is more important than their tone. A positive tone based on homophilly leads to an enjoyable experience but potentially an over confidence bias too, so it doesn't do much for organisational performance. High excitement predicts whether you'll want to work with someone later on and is much more important for performanve.
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Photo credits: Al Harkan, Aisha Foad, Arthur Shelley