Rob Cross is, without exaggeration, the best thinker, researcher, and speaker in the world – on how networks create organizational impact and differentiated performance. He is the definition of a thought leader who can roll up his sleeves with practical advice to help leader’s advance their skills. His research has focused on specific behavioral predictors for leaders to practice and succeed in cross-silo collaboration. Having personally partnered with Rob for the past 10 years in senior leader populations from around the world I can say without reservation, he is powerful in teaching complex custom executive education programs, and facilitating pragmatic senior team working sessions.
Dr. Dennis Baltzley
Global Head of Leadership Development, KornFerry
Rob is a pioneer in applying social network analysis to better understand critical business issues and drive bottom-line results. He has the rare ability of being able to conduct complex studies and then express his findings in a crisp, compelling and practical manner. His work with General Motors has been instrumental in helping our executives to unlock the value of their own social capital. His research has significantly influenced our talent and engagement strategy.
Michael Arena, Ph.D.
Chief Talent Officer, General Motors
Cigna’s emphasis on organizational and personal leadership networks has resulted in improved business operations, leadership pipeline development and talent effectiveness. These results have been amplified by the subject matter expertise and corporate landscape acumen of Rob Cross, an essential element of our work in this space. Rob has been instrumental in designing, building, refining and managing our suite of networking activities and he continues to be a critical partner. Whether working with new Cigna leaders or executives working to establish ever better global business and workplace efficiencies Rob has distinguished himself as a “must have” member of the conversation and team.
Chief Learning Officer, Cigna
Without a doubt, Rob is one of the most important and impactful thought-leaders in the world of business and organizational performance today. Rob’s twenty plus years of academically rigorous research makes him the unmatched leader in understanding the personal and organizational strategies required to succeed in the emerging Connected Economy. Over my career, Rob’s presentation and counter-intuitive insights have mesmerized and energized my most executive C-suite teams. When the history of business’ transition to a post-industrial economy is written, Rob’s work on Organizational Network Science will absolutely stand-out as the most influential and important perspective on how to lead in the upcoming post-hierarchical world.
Vice President, Leadership & Organization Effectiveness, Workday
Whereas too often executives feel as though they’ve heard it all before, Rob Cross brings a wholly new and value-added perspective on how work gets done today via the power of networks. When Rob joined our executive team offsite at Juniper Networks in Silicon Valley, the room was buzzing with new ideas, energy and insights that translated into significant business value. Now at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we’re partnering with Rob to explore hidden networks that have potential to reduce inequity on a massive, global scale. No matter the sector or audience, Rob’s deep experience and expertise is guaranteed to bring leader’s new insights into their most critical asset – their network of relationships.
Chris Ernst, Ph.D.
Global Head of Leadership & Organization Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
We have worked with Rob since 2010 on a number of executive development programs and organizational network analyses. I value Rob’s positive energy, collaborative approach and the tremendous value he brings to every engagement. Rob is a dynamic speaker and his style resonates with all levels of leadership. He is also an amazing consultant and is able to rapidly identify practical applications of his proven research to solve our most pressing social capital challenges. I truly value our partnership and am excited to see how our work will continue to drive greater workforce engagement and performance!
Global Director, Global Learning & Development, Booz Allen Hamilton
Rob has a unique ability to combine solid academic research, with engaging humour and meaningful application that resonates with leaders from across our organization. We have featured Rob in several of our leadership development programs and his session is always highly rated. His sessions are highly interactive and challenge participants to think about the way they collaborate up, down and across the firm. He translates data (which is important to a highly analytic investment organization) into practical tips and tricks to help leaders manage their networks and avoid “collaborative overload”—a real challenge in many organizations.
Senior Manager, Human Resources, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
For the last year, we’ve been working closely with Rob in a number of different forums. He’s helping us understand how to make visible the networks within teams and between teams—and so to see the interactions that define how work gets done. Rob’s experience, expertise and insights are invaluable to us as we seek to provide real time intelligence to our teams and our team leaders about the real world of work.
SVP, Leadership and Team Intelligence, Cisco
We are an organization driven by the mission to help companies work better together. In Rob Cross we have found a thought partner that expands the way we look at this exciting topic and what we know about how humans collaborate together. Rob’s delivery style, messages and learnings have resonated in an offsite with our executive team, in a session with our global VP community and as a keynote speaker at our Sales Kick Off all employee meeting. In addition, we implemented an Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) across our company and are now benefiting from the simplicity of the process, the compelling insights and the consulting assistance from Rob on how to create positive and meaningful impact on the effectiveness of how our organization works.
Chief People Officer, Jive Software
Rob Cross has been a foundational thinker and presenter in our senior leader development program. He has helped shape not only the way these future leaders will think, but how they will comport themselves as one responsible for providing health care to thousands of patients. Over his ten years with us, Rob has been the first among equals in a program that is able to attract talent from top universities and consultancies. Sutter Health and health care in general is grateful for the gift of his talents and insights.
Faculty and Curriculum Director. Sutter Health University Leadership Academy
“Engaging, provocative and practical.” This is some of the feedback I have received from participants in a variety of executive development efforts I have led in two different companies, in two very different industries: Fannie Mae, a financial service company and MedImmune, a mid-sized bio-tech. I have worked with Rob to use the Social Networks lens to help rising and incumbent leaders examine the demands and opportunities they face. Rob brings his deep knowledge and expertise to participants in a way that is relevant and meaningful. He helps leaders make their networks visible — and therefore manageable. The combination of data driven analysis, great stories and practical insights have helped leaders understand how to build and manage their networks to achieve better business results.
Senior Director Leadership Development. Medimmune and Fannie Mae
Rob Cross is a true thought leader when it comes to leveraging networks to create differentiated advantage in large, complex organizations. We came in contact with Rob through executive programs and an offsite he ran for my organization. Rob and his team also partnered with us to analyze our Global Merck IT organization so we could take a data-driven approach to increasing collaboration and productivity. His research, energy and passion have been key factors in our transformation as an IT organization.
CIO Merck Animal Health
Never an easy task, Rob Cross has found a way to move theory into immensely valuable ideas that are readily applicable and will drive results in any organization. He understands how companies and other associations continue to evolve in their organizational approach and their need for talent that can quickly learn and adapt accordingly. For the past decade I have called upon Rob whenever one of my clients has wanted to help their employees better leverage their organization and networks. He always leaves them and their executives determined to become more purposeful and effective in their roles. Because of what they learn, many of those clients have moved beyond simple workshops and have engaged Rob and his team in performing full network analyses for them.
Dr. Craig Clawson
Dean, Jack Welch Management Institute and former Managing Director, Duke Corporate Education
Rob first introduced Associated British Foods to network mapping in 2013 and has generously shared his deep knowledge and expertise with us on many occasions since. He supported our early enthusiasm for networks with a series of bespoke briefings and WebExes, helping us to understand, interpret and use network data at both organisational and individual levels. As a result, networks remain at the forefront of our thinking on a whole host of subjects, ranging from the creation of large scale competitive advantage at one end of the scale to the development of individual senior leaders at the other.
Head of Executive Development and Careers, Associated British Foods
Rob Cross delivered a powerful session on networking for HP’s high potentials. Many participants commented on the insight that they gained about both the organizational networks that they lead and their personal networks. The practical application of examining their personal networks and building on this knowledge served as an excellent foundation for personal action planning with a network twist.
Program Manager, HP Center for Leadership Excellence