The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

Harvard Business Review Press
8
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TODAY’S LEADERS KNOW THAT SPEED and agility are the keys to any company’s success, and yet many are frustrated that their organizations can’t move fast enough to stay competitive. The typical chain of command is too slow; internal resources are too limited; people are already executing beyond normal expectations. As the pace accelerates, how do you inspire people’s energy and creativity? How do you collaborate with customers, vendors, and partners to keep your organization on the cutting edge? What kind of organization matches the speed and complexity that businesses must master—and how do you build that organization?

Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, one of the world’s most revolutionary companies, shows how open principles of management—based on transparency, participation, and community—reinvent the organization for the fast-paced connected era. Whitehurst gives readers an insider’s look into how an open and innovative organizational model works. He shows how to leverage it to build community, respond quickly to opportunities, harness resources and talent both inside and outside the organization, and inspire, motivate, and empower people at all levels to act with accountability.

The Open Organization is a must-read for leaders struggling to adapt their management practices to the values of the digital and social age. Brimming with Whitehurst’s personal stories and candid advice for leading an open organization, as well as with instructive examples from employees and managers at Red Hat and companies such as Google, The Body Shop, and Whole Foods, this book provides the blueprint for reinventing your organization.
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About the author

JIM WHITEHURST is CEO of Red Hat, the largest open source software company in the world. Before joining Red Hat, Whitehurst held various positions at Delta Air Lines, most recently as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for operations, sales and customer service, network and revenue management, marketing, and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Delta, he was a Partner at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and held various leadership roles in BCG’s Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Atlanta offices.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harvard Business Review Press
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Published on
May 12, 2015
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781625275288
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Information Management
Business & Economics / Leadership
Business & Economics / Workplace Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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What if you could combine the agility, adaptability, and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization?

THE OLD RULES NO LONGER APPLY . . .
When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2004, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly, then seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment, and training—but none of that seemed to matter.

TEACHING A LEVIATHAN TO IMPROVISE
It’s no secret that in any field, small teams have many ad­vantages—they can respond quickly, communicate freely, and make decisions without layers of bureaucracy. But organizations taking on really big challenges can’t fit in a garage. They need management practices that can scale to thousands of people.
 
General McChrystal led a hierarchical, highly disci­plined machine of thousands of men and women. But to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, his Task Force would have to acquire the enemy’s speed and flexibility. Was there a way to combine the power of the world’s mightiest military with the agility of the world’s most fearsome terrorist network? If so, could the same principles apply in civilian organizations?

A NEW APPROACH FOR A NEW WORLD
McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the Task Force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to ex­tend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade earlier. The Task Force became a “team of teams”—faster, flatter, more flex­ible—and beat back Al Qaeda.

BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD
In this powerful book, McChrystal and his colleagues show how the challenges they faced in Iraq can be rel­evant to countless businesses, nonprofits, and other or­ganizations. The world is changing faster than ever, and the smartest response for those in charge is to give small groups the freedom to experiment while driving every­one to share what they learn across the entire organiza­tion. As the authors argue through compelling examples, the team of teams strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA. It has the potential to transform organizations large and small.


From the Hardcover edition.
NYT and WSJ bestselling author Charlene Li guides business leaders deeper than ever before into the uncomfortable and ever-changing terrain of the digital era

Technology has revolutionized the very idea and nature of relationships between leaders and their followers. Yet, many leaders remain stuck at arms-length from those they lead and serve, relying on specialized teams to interact with customers, their direct reports to keep tabs on how employees are doing, and on the digital natives in their organization to stay abreast of new technologies.

Now, in The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation, Li helps leaders adapt to the demands, and opportunities of digital leadership. To be a true digital leader requires a metamorphosis: you must connect directly by listening, sharing, and engaging using digital technologies. This metamorphosis is not easy, comfortable, or painless—if your palms aren't sweaty or your stomach isn't churning, then you probably aren't really practicing digital leadership.

The Engaged Leader addresses why leaders need to master a new way of developing relationships, which begins by stepping out of traditional hierarchies; how to listen at scale, share to shape, and engage to transform; the art of making this transformative mind shift; and the science of applying the right tools to meet your strategic goals.

This transformation is not optional. Those who choose not to make this change will be abandoned for those who inspire people to follow them.

The Engaged Leader provides leaders with the skills and confidence they need to transform their leadership, and in turn, their organizations. The Engaged Leader also provides guidance to institutions—businesses, communities, and schools—on how to develop and nurture digital leadership. It is a must read for anyone who values a deeper connection between leaders and those they serve.
You think you have a winning strategy. But do you?

Executives are bombarded with bestselling ideas and best practices for achieving competitive advantage, but many of these ideas and practices contradict each other. Should you aim to be big or fast? Should you create a blue ocean, be adaptive, play to win—or forget about a sustainable competitive advantage altogether? In a business environment that is changing faster and becoming more uncertain and complex almost by the day, it’s never been more important—or more difficult—to choose the right approach to strategy.

In this book, The Boston Consulting Group’s Martin Reeves, Knut Haanæs, and Janmejaya Sinha offer a proven method to determine the strategy approach that is best for your company. They start by helping you assess your business environment—how unpredictable it is, how much power you have to change it, and how harsh it is—a critical component of getting strategy right. They show how existing strategy approaches sort into five categories—Be Big, Be Fast, Be First, Be the Orchestrator, or simply Be Viable—depending on the extent of predictability, malleability, and harshness. In-depth explanations of each of these approaches will provide critical insight to help you match your approach to strategy to your environment, determine when and how to execute each one, and avoid a potentially fatal mismatch.

Addressing your most pressing strategic challenges, you’ll be able to answer questions such as:

• What replaces planning when the annual cycle is obsolete?
• When can we—and when should we—shape the game to our advantage?
• How do we simultaneously implement different strategic approaches for different business units?
• How do we manage the inherent contradictions in formulating and executing different strategies across multiple businesses and geographies?

Until now, no book brings it all together and offers a practical tool for understanding which strategic approach to apply. Get started today.
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