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Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences Hardcover – March 25, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062248529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062248527
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“If you are in leadership or want to remain competitive and you don’t have a culturally diverse board or staff, you are part of the past. We need to focus now on understanding the need for developing this untapped pipeline. This remarkable resource will set you on the right path.” (--Dr. Frances Hesselbein, President, Leader to Leader Institute (formerly The Peter Drucker Institute))

“A solid, common-sense guide to creating a successful and diverse workplace in terms of culture, age, and gender....clear and illustrative.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Hyun and Lee’s book accomplishes what few guidebooks for employers do: It empowers leaders not only to manage differently, but to think differently by cultivating cultural fluency that will enable them to work more effectively with diverse teams.” (Sylvia Ann Hewlett, CEO, Center for Talent Innovation, author of Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your CareerSylvia Ann Hewlett, CEO, Center for Talent Innovation, author of Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to F)

“FLEX provides a way for leaders to re-define how to lead by understanding, embracing and seeking out differences.” (Karyn Detje, Chief Talent Officer, Tory Burch)

Flexis the first real field manual for managing across differences. Its lessons are relevant to people at every level and stage of their career. “Flex” is required reading for every manager who wants to empower his/her employees to reach their full potential.” (David A. Thomas, PhDDean and William R. Berkley ChairGeorgetown University, McDonough School of BusinessDavid A. Thomas, PhD, Dean and William R. Berkley Chair, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business)

“Read this book. If taken seriously, you will certainly challenge yourself to change the way you lead in today’s global marketplace.” (Steve Reinemund, Dean of Business, Wake Forest University, Retired Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo)

“Flex is about thinking -- managing one’s thinking to meet the demands of business relationships inside and outside of your organization. From the conceptual rationale to the practical how-to, take this journey with the authors!” (J.T. (Ted) Childs, Jr., Principal, Ted Childs LLC)

“…a solid, common-sense guide to creating a successful and diverse workplace…Their guide is clear and illustrative…” (Publishers Weekly)

“Coauthors Hyun and Lee provide the modern manager with a playbook on how to switch among leadership styles to get the most out of employees.” (Library Journal)

“Hyun and Lee offer convincing evidence to illustrate how to enhance communication skills across various workplace divides.” (Kirkus)

From the Back Cover

The workplace around the world is changing—growing increasingly multicultural, female, and younger. Experts often tell CEOs and managers what not to do, and corporate diversity programs can often appear to be like defensive measures against lawsuits and harassment charges. While technology has connected all of us as a global workforce, it has not equipped us with the capability to interact genuinely with people. In order to be successful in this new global business environment, we need to rethink the way we lead others.

Flex offers a new approach—a proactive strategy for managers to understand and leverage difference effectively in this new global economy.

Flex shows managers how to

  • understand the power gap—the social distance between you and those in the workplace of different cultures, ages, and gender;
  • stretch your management style and bridge the gap with more effective communication and feedback tools; and
  • multiply the effect by teaching these skills to others and closing the power gap with clients, customers, and partners to create innovative solutions.

Creating flex in a company's management style will affect all aspects of developing existing leaders, attracting future talent, and building relationships with customers in this competitive marketplace. Flex shows you how.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
According to Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee, "This book offers what courageous, thoughtful leaders need in order to operate successfully in today's diverse, global marketplace." What specifically do they need? The core competencies include being able to understand, respect, and acknowledge differences between and among those for whom they are responsible; adjust ("flex") their management style to accommodate those differences; and minimize (if not eliminate) any "power gap" defined in terms of gender, age, or cultural differences. I agree with Hyun and Lee about the importance of cultural fluency at all structural levels and in all operational areas of the given enterprise. This fluency does not invalidate authority. On the contrary, for both leaders and followers, it [begin italics] enriches [end italics] it.

That is to say, cultural fluency is by no means limited to the C-level nor to managers elsewhere. Mutual respect and trust (worthy of the name) can and should be established and then nourished regardless of title or status. Emotional intelligence is best demonstrated by body language and tone of voice as well as by behavior over time, not by what is said, however eloquent that may be.

However, Hyun and Lee are spot on when observing that a fluent leader "is more than just someone who is emotionally mature, demonstrates empathy, and is able to make an accurate assessment of [people and their emotions. The fluent leader must also demonstrate elements of innovative thinking, but there are other aspects of this style that go beyond creativity and thinking outside the box." Such as what? Hyun and Lee offer a full-range of defining characteristics as well as leadership beliefs and behaviors that, in their shared opinion, a fluent leader possesses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Martin on April 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Flex by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee provides information for corporate managers on how to manage effectively in a diverse company. The book also contains advice for employees and on orientation programs. The book focuses on three kinds of differences: cultural, such as having employees from different countries, gender, that is to say between men and women and age, including people from several age categories. The authors say that the usual approach in such companies is to ignore differences, saying, in effect, we respect all our employees and treat them in the same manner. Such an approach they say is incorrect and instead managers should recognize these differences and actively seek to become “fluent” in dealing with them. There is a need for “intentional learning,” to develop in leaders the ability to work and communicate effortlessly with many types of people who are different from themselves. One aspect of this fluency is “code switching,” using more than one language in a single conversation with someone else who native language is different.

The authors state that there are four stages of competency: unconscious incompetence (don’t know and don’t know you don’t know; conscious incompetence (know you don’t know); conscious competence (know how to use something but have to think about it to use it) and the ideal which is unconscious competence (know how to use something and can do so without conscious effort. Their book is about reaching this last state.

All great relationships are built on trust and respect, but understanding and relating to people who are different in significant ways is critical to success. Thus the book is about adaptive leadership behavior and being fluent across differences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen Key on April 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book - really distinctively valuable for people in executive positions as well as team leaders and other leading from where they are in organizations. Jane Hyun and Audrey Lee have achieved a masterful blend of accessible, practical advice and useful stories that are grounded in research and scholarship. While most readers won't want to read the underlying scholarship, it's great to know that it's there - that Hyun and Lee have both walked the talk as executives and also have mastered the literature of the field. Flex offers something new and valuable to individuals and organizations that truly do want to manage across differences and benefit from all that differences can offer.
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