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Who's in the Room: How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them Hardcover – January 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118067878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118067871
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Great guide for any leader to use in mapping out his or her advisory teams”
—800 CEO Read

“Authoritative and pragmatic look at how to make the right calls”
—Julian Birkinshaw, Management Today

“Offers real-world strategies for making the best of how organizations seem to work”
—The Leader Lab

“How to structure organizational teams in a way that is both more realistic and more productive is at the heart of Frisch’s book”
—CIO Magazine

“What you really want from a book on organizational decision making and leadership”
—New York Journal of Books

“You’ll know his advice is working when you see a dramatic drop-off in people coming into your office and asking, "Why wasn’t I in the room?"
—Matthew May, Amex OPEN Forum

Who’s in the Room? falls in the great category…due to the book's ability to jar your perspective of how teams do and should operate.”
—Michael Wade, Execupundit

From the Back Cover

Praise for Who's in the Room?

"Many business observers talk about executive decision making, but few take you inside the meeting rooms the way Bob Frisch does, or make you rethink what goes on there. Who's in the Room? will cause a lot of leadership teams to set aside time to talk about how decisions are—and should be—made in their organizations. For most of those teams, that will be a unique and much-needed discussion."
Walt Macnee, vice chairman, MasterCard Worldwide

"Bob Frisch's thirty years of experience in the executive suites of the world's largest companies have led to provocative new insights into how decisions get made at the highest levels of organizations. Whether you fully agree with his premise or not, this book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of top team effectiveness."
Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California; and author, Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

"Who's in the Room? puts forward a pragmatic, easily implemented way for companies large and small, across industries and borders, to rapidly improve the quality of their decision making and the effectiveness of their leadership teams. It highlights some basic truths about how leaders lead, how teams behave, and how organizations work, that will have you changing the way you run your company by the time you finish reading it."
Doug Stotz, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Bank of Montreal

"Rarely does a book reset the way we at look at something and truly shift our basic assumptions about routine activities. Who's in the Room? is one of those books. It will permanently change your thinking about how organizations should be led."
Michael Treacy, coauthor, The Discipline of Market Leaders


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book is usefully organized around the core steps you must go through to focus, align, and implement.
Andrew Sobel
This book is a must read for anyone who is in, or aspiring to be in a senior management team and/or a "kitchen cabinet".
M. Fox
I particularly enjoyed reading the real world examples drawn from Mr. Frisch's well regarded consultancy practise.
S. Sussman, London, UK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Zimman on January 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The central premise of "Who's in the Room?" is that the most important decisions rarely get made in accordance with the organization chart -- and, that's not just okay, it's a good thing! While a bit counter-intuitive, I found author Bob Frisch's recent article on this subject in the Harvard Business Review so insightful that I immediately ordered the book. He rolls out a very persuasive argument that the CEO (or any decisionmaker) will get to a better decision if he or she relies on advice from an unofficial "kitchen cabinet," rather than the formal executive team (or committee) shown on the org chart.

The kitchen cabinet can (and does) vary based on the decision being made, is trusted, is a smaller and more efficient group, and can operate outside the daily politics and baggage of the formal team structure. This frees up the formal team to tackle the issues that require and benefit most from cross-organizational input (eg, establishing a worldview, setting priorities, allocating resources and managing dependencies).

The book is chockful of anecdotes that illustrates how decisions can be made effectively in organizations when the right people are in the room. Anyone who has ever spent time sitting through a dysfunctional discussion with the entire executive team (in which the wrong issues come up and the right ones never get aired), will appreciate the stories from the field and the lessons in decision-making that can be learned from this book. Highly recommend. A surprisingly interesting and fun read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Gastfriend on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Bob Frisch is an expert on how the CEOs of organizations from the Red Cross to MasterCard structure their senior management teams, but his down-to-earth writing style, concrete examples, and background explanations of the prevailing theories in the field make this book accessible to those of us who are just beginning to climb the corporate ladder. This is great reading for not just CEOs and VPs but business school students, too; understanding some of the dynamics and tensions at play in the boardroom helps a lot in dissecting cases. The analogies he draws between business and politics are especially helpful--it makes me realize that the same forces and tensions are at play in the Oval Office as in a corporate offsite, but in a different guise, and the book clearly delineates what these tensions are, how to recognize them, and how best to handle them.

Definitely a worthwhile read for anyone interested in what's going on at the top.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Sobel on January 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who's in the Room is a breath of fresh air. It stands in sharp contrast to the hundreds of dry, theoretical books that have been written about leadership, governance, and strategy. It's common today to hear that leadership is all about implementation--that strategy doesn't even matter that much. Just get the right people on the bus and go somewhere interesting! But the fact is strategy is incredibly important, and Frisch has a keen sense for how to develop it and then how to lead the institution as you implement. Part of this book's tremendous value is the way it debunks the notion of the formal "top team" and describes how decisions are really made in organizations. Part of its value is also Frisch's detailed stories and observations about management in action, and the practices that allow you formulate great strategy and then get tangible results. The book is usefully organized around the core steps you must go through to focus, align, and implement. This is business writing at its best: A book that captures not just the author's decades of experience but also that of hundreds of senior leaders he has worked with over the years.
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By C. M. Cotton on August 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I am a serial entrepreneur, a University lecturer in, Russia, Italy and the USA in Business Economics and International Law and am an international business and peak performance consultant. As such, I have read a plethora of business, motivational, peak performance, coaching, team building psychology type of books over 22 years. In fact I have enough books at home, on these subjects, to sink several ships. So my comments on this book are based upon real and theoretical business experience.

Leadership based upon the ability to understand others and how to get the best from others is vitally important in every business. One of the most important attributes a leader can have is to understand their own limitations and then seek advice from all those around in the organisation. I read a wonderful book as a teenager in the 1980's by Lee Harvey Jones (of TV Troubleshooter fame and ex ICI head) and his words have stuck with me ever since......when trying to find the source of the problem and solution to the problem, start by asking all those on the shop floor....as these people usually know what is wrong and have better ideas of how to put it right, than the CEO or the Board. During my Masters in Business Economics I learnt about one of the most profitable but open companies in the world, Kao Soap Japan. Their philosophy is simple,the CEO sets strategy, that strategy is then discussed by all in the organisation by having open plan offices, little hierarchy, a computer system containing company data that is open to everyone and so every employee has equal status to inject ideas into the company, then it is down to the Board to check the doability of these ideas and implement change.
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