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Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power their Organizations Hardcover – June 19, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Named a Best Business Book for 2012 in strategy+business magazine

Talk, Inc. makes a powerful case that effective talk is the primary means of motivating and inspiring loyalty among today’s increasingly social and connected workforce.” — strategy+business magazine

“This book provides tips for how leaders can communicate more effectively by making their agency’s culture more intimate, interactive, inclusive and intentional.” — The Washington Post

Talk, Inc. is easy to read, and captures an important change in today’s workplace, offering a prescription for making it work.” — The Globe & Mail


“Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind have captured one of the most significant changes in business leadership that I have witnessed during my twenty-four years as a CEO of a public company. If you want to understand what I believe will be the most critical ingredient to successful twenty-first-century leadership, read this book. Then join the conversation.” — Jim Rogers, Chairman, President, and CEO, Duke Energy

“As a leader, I have struggled to find ways to fuel employee engagement. I have also observed how leaders at Microsoft, Accenture, and PepsiCo have striven to engage employees. It’s hard work! Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind make a very strong case that organizational conversation—in contrast to the traditional ‘corporate communication’ model—is critical to helping leaders meet that challenge. More important, through in-depth discussion of real business situations, they provide insight on how to make organizational conversation happen. The model presented in Talk, Inc., furthermore, is as relevant to harnessing the power of customers as it is to managing your workforce.” — Dina Dublon, Director of Accenture, Microsoft, and PepsiCo; former Chief Financial Officer, JPMorgan Chase

Talk, Inc., presents a template for creating organizational excellence. The authors have fashioned an outstanding explanation of a fundamental leadership competence: facilitating effective communication. This book, I believe, is a must-read for every organizational leader.” — S. Roy Choudhury, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

“Talk may be cheap, but genuine conversation is priceless—especially in organizations determined to win big in fast-changing times. In Talk, Inc., Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind offer a set of truly original insights, supported by a collection of in-depth case studies that will help leaders surface the best ideas from the widest variety of people in their organizations. The most successful companies don’t just out-compete their rivals, they out-think their rivals. And you can’t generate smart ideas without free-spirited conversation. Read this book—and then talk about it with as many of your colleagues as you can!” — William C. Taylor, Cofounder, Fast Company; author, Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself

About the Author

Boris Groysberg is a professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School. Previously, he worked at IBM. His first book, Chasing Stars, was published in 2010. Michael Slind is a communication professional. He has worked at Fast Company magazine and Harvard Business School.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142217333X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422173336
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mike Grant on June 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Those who think that your message is what you say are grossly mistaken. Truly, it's not an issue of what you say -- it's how you say it. Nonverbal communication (tone of voice, body language) is what your listener will hear. And it goes on from there. In an organization, there's more to a leader's nonverbal communication than how they say something. For example, is the message delivered through an email, through a handwritten note, or in person? In the leader's office, or in the subordinate's? There are many, many factors involved.

This book is about maximizing the power of your organizational communications. It's about getting the message across that you wish to communicate. It's about how to say things. It's about structuring your communications -- and your company -- to facilitate enlivening, energizing, and inspiring communication.

The book also covers listening, and how to structure leadership's listening activities, so as not to put subordinates on the defensive so that they manipulate information in their response.

Highly recommended for any leaders for whom organizational communication is important. Which should be all of them.

For an excellent guide in cultivating innovation in your organization, check out 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization. And for a primer in organized creativity, look at The Practice of Creativity: A Manual for Dynamic Group Problem-Solving.

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Format: Hardcover
The results of dozens of major research studies confirm that, during a face-to-face encounter, the impact is determined as follows: body language, about 55-60%; tone of voice, about 30-35%; and what is said, about 10-15%. (Obviously, the results vary somewhat from one survey to the next.) The bottom line is that we communicate in several different ways whenever we "send a message" and the message received (IF it's received) is not necessarily the one sent or at least not the one [begin italics] intended [end italics].

What we have in this volume is a brilliant analysis of what works and what doesn't during what Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind characterize as "organizational conversations," a term that applies "to the full range of patterns and processes by which information circulates through a company -- all of the ways in which ideas, images, and other forms of organizational co tent pass between [and among] leaders and employees, or from one employee (or group of employees) to another...both in spirit and practice, organizational conversation is quite different from corporate communication" and they explain both the differences and why they are significant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Lahey on June 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the things I love about this book is it doesn't simply present the same corporate rock stars that everyone else discusses, such as Apple, Southwest, Google, etc. This book presents a ton of real-world examples from a wide variety of companies, such as Cisco, Exelon, EMC, McKesson, Duke Energy, Verenium, and many more. Whether you are a CEO, VP of Corporate Communication, or other business leader, this book will help you improve your leadership and get a pulse on the latest trends in internal communication.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan Erwin on July 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It used to be thought that the major source of power for managers and leaders was their position. It was his vested position that gave a manager the controls of productivity, strategy and the firm's future. That is simply no longer the case.

Out of the thousands of books on communication in organizations, Talk, Inc. takes today's changing world of business seriously and provides a unique perspective. As findings by Harvard's Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind reveal in their new book, Talk, Inc., leadership is fundamentally conversation-powered. Indeed, as the authors declare, conversations are the new source of organizational power.

Why conversation-powered leadership?
What's clear is that economic change has demanded new, sophisticated ways to process and share information. But that's not all. Flatter organizations, diverse and widely dispersed global organizations, generational differences, the new social networks and, perhaps, above all, the brute fact that the pace of business is profoundly accelerated, have all made conversational expertise the ultimate competency of leadership success.

The hard skills are easy to learn. It's the soft skills of conversation and relationships that easily sabotage workers' hopes for the future. And, as businesses are learning, the lack of those soft skills also sabotages strategy and the bottom line. So Groysberg and Slind's new work is a welcome addition to every manager's bookshelf. Indeed, the authors do something long overdue in this field: they refashion the concept of organizational communication around face-to-face conversation.
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