on September 14, 2010
Josh Bernoff has done it again! Empowered is a fascinating look at how employees with great ideas in your organization can be encouraged to innovate and transform your business to better serve customers. As it says in the book, with the rise of social technologies, customer service is the new marketing. And by following the clearly-outlined process in this book, managers can work with employee innovators (HEROs, they're called in the book) and IT stakeholders to allow customers to be better served, so they talk about your business in positive ways online. I loved all the case studies and practical examples that show how this can work in the real world.
I'm a social media consultant. I was in a meeting with a client only yesterday, and I found myself referencing and pulling this book out multiple times, referencing the handy checklists, charts, and questions. My clients can't wait to get their own copies! Truly, this is a resource that every business person needs.
on September 14, 2010
I read "Empowered" over the September 11-12 weekend. Although I was already familiar with many of the concepts through "Groundswell," the "boom boom pow" of this edition was the HERO Compact: IT, managers, and highly empowered and resourceful operatives (HEROes).
In the authors' words, "technology populism" is not a fad: employees (and their end customers) are mastering new aspects of technology every day. Left unchecked, this innovation could result in chaos. The authors correctly note that "it must align with corporate strategy . . . leadership has to communicate its goals and strategies more effectively or there will be a lot of wasted innovation."
Pulling disenfranchised, rogue and locked-down employees into the HERO employees quadrant (acting more resourceful and feeling more empowered) is more than just pop psychology: it's a value generator and competitive differentiator (especially with Customer Service, where less than one in five employees are HEROes).
Another telling statement: "innovation is about speed (fast, cheap experiments and high velocity), collaboration (feedback from across the organization; a business strategy: a way to improve the productivity of people and teams and accelerate the flow of information throughout the company), and systems (software that supports innovation).
The "aha" moment was showing how the groundswell technology trends of smart mobile devices, pervasive video, cloud computing services, and social technology empower and serve customers, and develop workers in the process. To quote the book and Malcolm Harkins, chief information security officer at Intel, we need to "run toward the risk so [we] can shape it" -- and resist the urge to treat these fundamental shifts in the way business is conducted as a fad or a dot-com-like "blip" in the Information Age.
As great as "Groundswell" was, this book has eclipsed it in terms of sheer business value. Read it, share it, put it into practice. Your customers are already doing so.
on September 28, 2010
Josh Bernoff's and Ted Schadler's, Empowered, is a nice balance-enjoyable read and an informative, thought-provoking challenge to businesses and brands. You get access to some of Forrester's industry-leading technographic research along with a compelling narrative that inspires you to think about the opportunities available in some new and exciting ways.
The point of Empowered is transformation-innovative people harnessing widely available, low-cost tools and technologies across the social and information landscape to revolutionize their business. And the authors use a lot of well-described examples to point out some of the low-hanging fruit already in the baskets of some smart, quick-thinking companies. But more importantly, Empowered shows businesses how to unleash HEROs (Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives) within companies to maximum effect. It is a framework for embracing the potential of resourceful people who are probably already working within your organization. And for all of you geeks out there, the authors make a strong case for empowering IT-the critical link in the chain that routinely gets dumped on and expected to deliver the magic.
If you're not interested in evolving your business or brand there's no need to read the book. But then again, if you're organization is not invested in change-constant, pervasive and always accelerating-you probably won't have much of a business to worry about anyway before long.
As an added bonus, it's a pretty easy read. Easily conquered over the course of a weekend or a couple of plane rides.
Ian Wolfman, cmo, imc²
on February 22, 2012
>>>..."Empowered" & "Groundswell2011" ( Authors - Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff ) are MustReads & should be taken together for our Best Total Understanding!!!...First, There was "Groundswell2007", Second, was "Empowered" & Third, "Groundswell2011"!!!
>>>...Within "Empowered" is a section, Part 2, Chapter 4 > "Delivering Groundswell Customer Service"!...By Josh Bernoff, Ted Schadler: Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business
>>>...Within "Groundswell2011 is Part 3 - The Groundswell Transforms - 4 Chapters.
>>>...Chapter 11 - How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms your Company.
>>>...Chapter 12 - The Groundswell Inside Your Company.
>>>...Chapter 13 - Attaining Social Maturity.
>>>...Within Chapter 13 is The Final Stage: Becoming Empowered & The Introduction Of "HEROes"( Highly Empowered & Resourceful Employees / Operatives )
>>>...Within "Empowered" is a Substantial Expansion On "HEROes" which covers 252+ pages, 3 Parts, 14 Chapters of Knowledge, Context, Content, etc.
>>>...Part 1 : 01 Chapter - HEROes.
>>>...Part 2 : 05 Chapters - What HEROes do.
>>>...Part 3 : 08 Chapters -The HERO-Powered Business.
>>>..."Empowered" closes with notes, acknowledgments, case indexes, index & about the authors - Josh Bernoff (Groundswell2011) & Ted Schadler.
>>>...Chapter 14 - The Future Of The Groundswell.
>>>...>>> A Suggestion <<< InvestPurchase "Empowered" & "Groundswell2011" For Your Best, Total Understanding!!!...NOW / TODAY...They Are Worth Your Time, Money & Use!!!...Carpe Diem / Seize The Day!!!...Michael!
on November 30, 2014
When Groundswell (Bernoff's first book) was first published, the title struck me as brilliant, because it assigned a broader meaning to a term that more and more people were using everyday. Social technologies were indeed leading to groundswells around the world, and those groundswells were changing industries and lives. With this latest book, Josh has once again managed to corral a term that may be familiar to us all, and give it a much deeper context and meaning. Not that the title is the only thing to learn from in Empowered - the book itself is a heavy hitter when it comes to taking Forrester's trademark research driven approach and making a case for how empowering your employees and customers can be the most transformative thing you do for your business. If your experience is like mine, you'll find the plentiful data and case study examples to be compelling - but what will really excite you is just how much the ammunition the book will offer you to make the case for empowering employees and customers to the rest of the world. (Review originally published on the Influential Marketing Blog)
on September 24, 2010
If nothing else, Empowered, Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business has given the world several new FLAWs (four letter acronym words). At last reckoning there were three: HERO, IDEA, and POST, but one of these was introduced in an earlier book, Groundswell.
Empowered has given the world a lot more than that. My title is unfair perhaps, because I liked this book, and the further I read the more I liked it. You cannot read a business book these days that doesn't introduce a new acronym, and I have come to see it as a proxy for strong knowledge or good writing. Fortunately Bernoff and Schadler are both knowledgeable and good writers, so I wish they wouldn't resort to gimmicks.
The best part of the book is the specific examples of real companies doing real projects, mostly Forrester customers. Empowered ties together many trends that, although I was aware of them individually, was not seeing them so closely interlinked. Social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), mobile computing, project management, information security, and the traditional roles of customer service are among the topics that are addressed. The hero of the story is, of course, the HERO, or highly empowered resourceful operatives who are dragging companies, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
HERO means more than it seems. Imagine a 2-dimensional matrix forming a quadrant--yes this quadrant is in the book, but not until chapter 8. On the X-axis (from left to right) is empowerment. On the Y-axis (from bottom to top) is resourcefulness. At the bottom left of the quadrant are disenfranchised employees who are neither empowered nor resourceful, making approximately one-third of most companies. The next one-third of employees are those who are locked-down--empowered but not resourceful. The smallest percent, maybe one-eighth, are those who are the rogues who are resourceful but not empowered. The rest are HEROs. The goal of organizations, then is not to expand that quadrant as big as possible, but to get the best people into the HERO roles and to get the organization behind them. Easier said than done, but there is a lot of substance in Empowered to help on the journey.
The book is divided roughly in half. Part one discusses HEROs and HERO projects in detail, including how they have saved organizations and how the lack of a HERO has led to substandard responses and embarrassing situations. Prominent here are the realities of social media and mobile technologies. Part two discusses actions organizations can take to enable the HERO. Similar themes run through the book, and this is not a collection of random blog posts.
Part one did turn me off in many places. The author seemed to target me, an IT professional and my colleagues as the chief disablers of HERO behaviors. I hope that we can be forgiven. We understand as well as anyone the complexity behind modern businesses, and how frail it really is under the hood. We are the individuals whose heads get beat whenever a server crashes or data is compromised, regardless of whether we had anything to do with the initial implementation. We've been SOX'ed, mandated, legislated, and audited to death. A little more respect would be nice.
Fortunately, the book delivers some more of that in part two. It recognizes some of the issues faced by IT and provides some guidance for IT professionals. It spends time on a couple IT leaders who have reached out to other business units to build creative and innovative solutions. Ultimately this is not about IT, but about the business leaders understanding the borders of the organization are no longer around its physical premise and its high-walled data centers. The borders around the organization are around its people. Employees and customers are using Twitter and YouTube, and the conduits for leakage is unfathomable. Employees have to exercise common sense and be professional. The emphasis of the Information Security office has to migrate from applying technical band-aids to engaging leaders and employees. It will happen, and I predict IT will be leaders in this process, not inhibitors.
on September 21, 2010
"Unleash your employees, energize your customers, transform your business" are the promises on the cover of Empowered by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler. This book, a follow up to the highly informative Groundswell coauthored by Bernoff and Charlene Li, delivers just that - a way to use the social web to transform your business in this age of groundswell.
The authors use case studies and personal experiences to help you work out plans to find and train the HEROes in your business, those Highly Energized and Resourceful Operatives who are willing to go beyond "business as usual" to take your business to a higher level. Perhaps "your" business isn't quite the appropriate way to write it - it's more like "their" business. As members of a team, HEROes have a stake in the success of the business they are a part of.
This doesn't mean just using the groundswell for customers, either, because the groundswell can be used internally, too.
The basis for any plan to harness groundswell technologies is based in the acronym "IDEA:"
Identify mass influencers
Deliver groundswell customer service
Amplify the voice of your fans.
This is often easier said than done. Thankfully Bernoff and Schadler provide a number of great examples to help give you ideas to put a plan together which will work for you, your team and your business. They even offer a tool to help you figure out if a project is worth taking on using the "EVE" score, the "Effort, Value Evaluation." I found this to be particularly helpful. Many times there are many good ideas floating around, but having a good way to evaluate them to separate the good from the great can be very handy.
Another great tool provided in Empowered is the HERO Compact. This is a contract, so to speak, between the HEROes in a business, management and IT. It separates and balances authority, responsibilities and scopes of the three main areas of a HERO-powered business. While not a comprehensive contract, it does serve quite well as the framework for formal or informal agreements or memorandums of understanding within a business to help smooth out possible areas of contention between different groups.
The last section of the book offers advice to those leading HEROes with ideas on how to equip, train and further empower them. This is key because HEROes are likely to be the kind of people who work and strive to do better. It's important that they be properly cared for and equipped or they will either quit putting forth the effort out of discouragement or (more likely) move on to somewhere else where their HERO attitude and work will be better put to use.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to tap into the groundswell to invigorate marketing and other business processes. Perhaps you have some HEROes in your business already and you just don't "get" them. Here's a great guide to help you understand where they're coming from and how you can help them - and even become a HERO yourself.
If you have not yet read Groundswell you may want to read it first. Although Empowered stands on its own, you'll probably get a lot more out of it if you read Groundswell first.
on September 9, 2010
There are thousands of Social Media books, but Josh & Ted include some interesting points of view about the importance of employees in the way companies interact with their customers in Social Media. Lots of great and useful case studies.
Yuu must read it.
on September 18, 2010
"Empowered" is an extremely useful read and a good follow-on or companion to Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.The concept of Customer Service being an extension of Marketing (not necessarily as an org, but in behaviors and customer impact) is more true than ever given increasingly lower switching costs in many industries (you're only as good as your last impression). More than anything this is a good read for executives and IT managers to better internalize the spirit of how and where loyalty is won so they can get out of their best employees' way to innovate and deliver exceptional service.
on March 20, 2011
This book is a must read for any innovative organization that desires to empower its employees to do whatever it takes to delight its customers to sustain its competitive advantage.
The book is remarkably useful in many ways:
1) It contains information on the latest online technology, tools, resources about social networking that allows instantaneous dissemination of information to interested parties, including customers, who can help or hurt your bottom line
2) There are very real and applicable case studies organized by industry, role, and technology which make it easier to use that information for your situation
3) There are on line links to the research conducted in writing this book which makes it possible to delve deeper into the case studies to do further review of the raw data.