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Leadership in a Wiki World: Leveraging Collective Knowledge To Make the Leap To Extraordinary Performance

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1608444663
ISBN-10: 160844466X
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  • Leadership in a Wiki World: Leveraging Collective Knowledge To Make the Leap To Extraordinary Performance
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (June 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160844466X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608444663
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Chetan Dhruve on October 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a terrific, insightful book.

In this book, author Rod Collins flatly states that the command-and-control, hierarchic management model is obsolete, and the days of the leader-hero "taking charge" are over. Mr Collins offers rationales based on his real-world and hands-on experience of running a large, complex multi-billion dollar health insurance operation. The main reason the old model is dead is simply this: the world of business is getting incredibly complex, and the top-down hierarchic model cannot cope with all the complexity.

One thing I really liked about the book is the author's willingness to tell it like it is. For example, "When it comes to implementing the insights of the human relations movement, management's efforts have been more about style than substance. Today's managers may spend more time soliciting inputs from their workers, but at the end of the day, managers are still the bosses, the workers are still subordinates, and these professionals are still expected to do as they're told."

Mr Collins notes that this "Do as your told" management style has its origins in the industrial age when mass production ruled, and managers were more educated than their workers. The absurdity is that today we are hired precisely because of our education and knowledge, yet managed as though we're ignorant and clueless.

Fundamentally, as Mr Collins says, "Nobody is smarter than everybody" - yet our management systems treat bosses as smarter than their subordinates. In this situation, the collective knowledge of the organization - so crucial to competitive advantage - is seen to rest with only a chosen few. This leads to knowledge being distorted or lost.
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Format: Paperback
Rod Collins has taken leadership into the 21st Century. At a time when businesses are struggling to survive in the new Digital Age the ones that are going to survive and flourish will need to follow a new set of rules. To be successful leaders need to move away from being "Bosses" and move towards being better facilitators.

It doesn't matter if you are a company of one or a Fortune 500 company, mass collaboration will be one of the keys to success for businesses of any size. Leadership in a Wiki World not only gives you a guide to the principles of Wiki-Management, it provides the tools companies need to stay ahead of the others in today's business world.
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Format: Paperback
Leadership in a Wiki World is about knowledge - how it is shared, how it is used and who owns it. The underlying theme of the book is that collaboration is now driving, people, organisations and ultimately, the economy.

It's also about how organisations are structured and how they are managed. Collins cites three developments that have changed the way organisations and people do, and manage business today:
- The social technology of the command-and-control organisation cannot keep pace with the speed of change in today's faster moving markets.
- The internet has created the unprecedented capacity for mass collaboration.
- The ascendance of knowledge networks and the decline of facilities.

Collins makes many good points about the changing nature of how organisations might best be structured. In particular, moving from hierarchical to process-driven, where the emphasis is on customer satisfaction rather than maximising shareholder value. He suggests that "the emergence of business processes as the new focus of work and the identification of organisational learning and mass collaboration" are critical core competencies managers need to develop.

There are two points that some readers may not agree with about Leadership in a Wiki World. Firstly, in developing his argument, Collins gives mainly service type organisations as examples. Secondly, most of the examples given are US based companies. It may be that there are many other non-service companies outside of the US that have been doing what Collins suggests long before the internet (and particularly the social media revolution) took hold.
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Format: Paperback
During the industrial age, leaders engaged in a command and control style of management. This worked well when the majority of the workers were poorly educated and machinery and equipment played a significant role in the success of the business.

We no longer live in the industrial age. But unfortunately far too many business and other leaders still try to manage in the command and control style. Most managers still value centralized planning and control. We still have a bias toward hiring the best and brightest and then allowing them to formulate and dictate the vision and direction of the organization.

As the author Rod Collins points out, we now live in the digital age. There has been a seismic shift away from mass production to businesses where knowledge is the primary product. Because of the totally different nature of business in the digital age, leaders need a new method to manage. "...You can't manage mass collaboration businesses using mass production practices."

The book starts by tracing the evolution and development of the command and control management philosophy that we all know and use. Then Mr. Collins develops the reasons why this no longer works. As he points out, a large part of the challenge is to let go of the old entrenched habits.

He then goes on to explain in great detail an alternative - what he calls Leadership in a Wiki World. Here leaders give up trying to control and instead become facilitators. By creating an environment where everyone gets to be heard, where debate (or worse yet management by decree) is replaced by open dialogue, the result is an organization which is more adaptable to the fast changing needs of today's business environment.
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