Archive for April, 2010

Given the speed with which information travels on the Internet, company leaders can no longer remain in secluded enclaves when company information leaks. When a misstep causes an uproar, it’s amplified by the abundance of channels, the ease of no-cost information sharing, and the imperative some feel to share/spread information and opinions widely via social media.

“What’s really going on here is that the fundamental rules that have governed how relationships work are being re-written…” says Charlene Li in her new book, Open Leadership: How Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead.

The imperative for business, then, is to redefine how those relationships will operate, according to Li, since “devolving into chaos or, worse, letting things take their natural course are certain recipes for disaster.” Foremost in an organization’s list of things to do should be to develop guidelines and specify the commitment they expect from these new relationships.

Li, co-author of the popular Groundswell which she collaborated on with Josh Bernoff in 2008, is Founder of Altimeter Group, a California-based strategy consulting firm.

“Open Leadership: Having the confidence and humility to give up the need to be in control while inspiring commitment from people to accomplish goals.”

In her latest book, Li takes businesses step-by-step through building and executing on an open social strategy. From demonstrating the need for companies to become more open; to defining what that means with the 10 Elements of Openness; creating an openness strategy; measuring the benefits of being open; detailing the guidelines, policies and procedures some companies are using to be engaged; through to the nuts and bolts of managing an open strategy, Li’s style and interesting real-life examples keeps readers engaged in this process.

But even the perfect strategy isn’t enough without leaders who are open to execute it, Li explains. “Leadership will require a new approach, new mindset, and new skills. It won’t be enough to be a good communicator. You will have to be comfortable sharing personal perspectives and feelings to develop closer relationships.”

Li details characteristics and skills necessary for effective leadership, identifying and nurturing this talent in an organization, and how to lead and recover through a failure. The book wraps up by examining how leaders are transforming their organizations to be more open out of economic and marketplace necessity.

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