An interview with Thomas Power, CEO Electric Dog
I first connected with Thomas Power on twitter and was immediately struck by his take on the new thinking companies will require to survive in the digital age. He has coined the term Open Random Supportive thinking #ORS which he explains below.
Thomas fits our definition of a thought leader i.e. someone who frames debates, offers a new point of view or someone who shifts paradigms.
He sits, as a Non-Executive Director on seven boards supporting executives in their Social Digital Transformation. He has built and sold four companies between 1984 and 2014 – DMS, QXL Ricardo plc, Ecademy, LeadORS. He has taught over 1,200 executives, politicians and royal family members on how to use social media and in particular how to use Linkedin, Twitter, Scredible, Facebook and Youtube with the goal of building their personal and corporate brand.
He ranks number one worldwide for written LinkedIn Testimonials and posted Endorsements and was ranked 73rd in The Top 100 Most Connected People on LinkedIn in 2013.
I asked him eight questions:
- Thomas you coined the term Open Random Supportive thinking #ORS what do you mean by this?
What I meant was the new social digital world required a new kind of thinking to deal with it and that new kind of thinking is Open Random Supportive #ORS. The term was coined by accident on a TV interview in June 2009 and has grown to become its own global hashtag. ORS is now the movement of Network Thinking: https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%23ORS
- Would you class this as a unique or novel point of view and if so how open are institutions to this new way of thinking?
Yes I would class it as both new and novel at least in June 2009 when I conceived it. Institutions by their very nature are Closed Selective Controlling #CSC because that’s how they survived the last 2000 years. But in a world of networks the network has become the new institution thus network thinking is superseding institutional thinking. Institutional thinking won’t go down without a good fight so expect this debate to last until at least 2030. In the end however because the internet is the new institution, #ORS thinking will win through.
- Have you backed this point of view up with any empirical evidence or research?
I have. What I have done is to create two questionnaires to assess people and how they think online:
These questionnaires have been completed by 4000 people and have confirmed that institutional thinking and network thinking resides in different social behaviours and moments of pressure. I’ve noticed also that we sit somewhere in the middle and the situation or problem as well as the time pressures determine the type of thinking we display and thus the behaviour i.e. Open or Closed, Random or Selective, or Supportive or Controlling,. Both CSC and ORS thinking and behaviour have their own risks.
- Tom Peters said culture beats strategy any day; shifting from Institutional Thinking to Network Thinking clearly requires a significant culture shift. How do you advocate companies change/ adapt?The best way to adapt to the Social Culture or Network Thinking approach is to assess everyone via the above questionnaires and help them understand how they currently think and behave. It’s important to give people time to accept their position. Hurry no-one. It’s not a race it’s a mental behaviour change. The change comes when people are ready.
People tend to only change under pressure, under duress or because of excitement and enthusiasm toward a new place, thing or learning. Wait for people to choose.
The Social Digital culture is a real challenge for most organizations so adapting to it requires a few leaders in an organization who go first. This can be as few as 10 people. Once those 10 have accepted and adopted ORS, the company follows over a 3 to 5 year period.
- How have you leveraged your Network Thinking point of view to the market – what has worked and what hasn’t?Yes and what works is gentle, steady, measured teaching over lengthy periods. My team and I have trained over 1200 top executives, politicians and royal families worldwide since 2009. It’s been great fun.
- Do you have any tips for any other aspiring thought leaders who have a unique point of view but are struggling to gain traction for it?Yes be patient with yourself, your learning and your communication. It took me from 2007 to 2010 to truly understand twitter, now it provides 100% of my work through thought leadership, video, chat, coffees and meetings. Seek to build followers (follow ORS) slowly over time who know, like and follow your point of view (your thought). Stick to your beliefs and dig in for the long term. ORS will take a decade to become commonplace so I am not expecting global awareness and adoption in Government until the 2020s.
- What are some of the benefits you have seen as a result of your journey and exploration of Open Random Supportive thinking?The biggest benefit of Open Random Supportive thinking is that people approach you all the time with questions, with issues, with problems that truly only #ORS thinking can address. These conversations create community, these conversations create transactions, these conversations are the heart of human engagement and support for one another’s humanity. Let them into your life, allow ORS to flow in your thinking and experience a new kind of life experience with others where sharing is natural and caring and helping is the order of the day. ORS thinking is a force for good.
- How important is it to have clear business objectives that underpin your thought leadership platform, in your case, Network Thinking?I always struggle with business objectives as they seem so fixed in the past. What I would say is define what you’re trying to achieve. Then figure out how you’re going to finance your model of thought leadership (be very wide in your thinking). Then patiently begin the build process by gathering followers, believers, advocates and friends online across all social platforms. Document everything for better for worse for every success and every failure so your manuscript can grow your thought leadership as you evolve and learn.
Finally always remember Napoleon Hill’s six magic words in 1937 “…we become what we think about.”