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Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead (J-B Warren Bennis Series) [Hardcover] Paperback – 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • ASIN: B003NTFH7G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Burton VINE VOICE on 29 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll start with the best bit - Chapter 9. This promotes the idea that the changes with the greatest potential rewards also tend to have a significant risk of failure, and as a result, failure needs to be handled sensibly, without unnecessary persecution and blame.

It's also the main chapter that does look at all at what to do when things go wrong. While the rest of the book talks about how to evaluate how open you are as a company and as a manager (the assumption throughout the book being that you are relatively senior in the company, not a social networking evangelist lower down the ladder), and benefits that you can see from being more open, there is a shortage of discussion of how it can go wrong.

Throughout the book there are plenty of discussions of open strategies followed by companies like Dell (in fact Chapter 10 reiterates most of them a second time), highlighting how a company managed to become more responsive and more able to deal with an unfolding crisis through being more open.

My main issue is that it doesn't apply the same treatment to the flip side - what issues have arisen because a company became more open, what the risks really are, and how the companies being discussed addressed that. It's too focussed on promoting the open leadership style.

A slightly more minor issue is that it's very focussed on large brands and companies - the kinds of ones where an issue written about by a blogger might manage to hit the news sites. I've no doubt that the majority of execs looking at books like this work for rather smaller companies, where that kind of exploding negative publicity is much less likely, yet there was no discussion about how different sizes of company might as a result have different pressures to be more open.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. R. Dhain VINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Firstly, Id just like to say that it'd be a great experience to meet Charelene and have brunch with her. Why do I say that? Well, her style of rhetoric is ENGAGING. Some may say that's essential for a writer, which i concur. However, when writing about subjects such as marketing and newer technology based concepts related to working methodologies, a lot of related material can seem like hard work simply cause it can become a bit dry and arid in its tone. It's not the fault of any writer per se, but more the subject at hand. Marketing and business, like maths, is something that is best learned BY DOING, rather than sitting through hundreds of pages READING about the subject. This perhaps explains why a lot of marketing seminars are so popular. Business is about REAL TIME interactivity, so seminars are usually pacey , and (hopefully) interactive and/or engaging.

Charlene Li's OPEN LEADERSHIP was of interest to me as i run a couple of businesses. Not on the scale of the organisations mentioned in the book, but for all my embracing of technology - which im currently addressing in an article for an american publication - I also used to find that social networking was sometimes bit flakey in execution, and could be a little more than an aimless self aggrandising tool without "bottom line" rewards. Maybe that's still a prevalent attitude to business and self promotion, which has its plusses and obvious minuses, but in this day and age, social networking tools are there to be utilised, and considering most are free to use, then why not use them?

Charlene makes a lively and entertaining narrator on this subject. She covers some very well known world leading brands to illustrate their progress through the journey of adopting AND adapting to this way of working.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. P. Gearing VINE VOICE on 10 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Traditional organisations based upon a hierarchical structure did not always know how to deal with the new. Those that do survive those that don't die. Such is the view of those who champion the new social technologies which have become available via the Web 2.0 and whilst much has been written on the need to adapt or die very little of it has been useful on how to adapt or die. This book does at least attempt to bridge that gap, however there is much more to be learnt from the failures of others than there is to be learned from the successes of large corporations. Cisco is perhaps the most successful of the examples given in this book but the glaringly obvious that a technology company should at least have an advantage in being open to new technologies shouldn't detract from the message that even very big companies can change. That does not mean that there are not lessons to be learned and Cisco appears to have been, in the past at least, as hierarchical as any other large corporation. In order to learn it is necessary to be able to fail, however a habit of failing does not do anything for the reputation of the management and the scale of failure has to be manageable. For everything they said about the advantages of the new openness and there are many socio-psychological studies that back up the benefits of being open with customers and staff about one's failures - as long as they can be passed off as foibles as Volkswagen managed to do back in the 60's around problems with the Beetle - share/stock holders are not in it to watch you fail with their money.

This book is readable and it does, for all its relentless cheerfulness, physically address the transition issues that are going to be faced by any management team trying to harness Web 2.
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