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The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive Hardcover – October 18, 2011
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From the Inside Flap
We live and work in a time of rapid change. Innovative technologiesfrom the latest social media platforms to high-tech automated warehousesreinvent the way we do business every day. At the same time, globalization and new nonlinear career paths continually transform our workforce, with teams constantly diversifying. Managers and organizations know they must adapt, but simple awareness of these sweeping changes is not enough. How can you go beyond merely understanding this new world to see unique new opportunities and, more importantly, beat the competition to tomorrow's greatest ideas?
The answer lies in being "plugged in"not just to new technology, but also to processes and people, and, most crucially, to the way these strategic elements fit together. Today's hypercompetitive economy demands seamless integration between the particular skills and knowledge of a team, the range of any business's technological tools, and the structure of the organization. After years of studying respected, successful companies, Professor Terri L. Griffith reveals how top performers "plug in" to achieve impressive results.
The cornerstone of Griffith's work is an easy-to-understand framework for plugging in, explained through three core practices:
Stop-Look-Listen: What do your data say? What do you already know that will help you with this project?
Mixing: How do you balance your available resources?
Sharing: How can you achieve better results by integrating your choices with other team members?
To show how the most plugged-in organizations develop sophisticated, industry-leading strategies from these basic practices, Griffith goes behind the scenes for interviews and case studies at leading companies such as Zappos, Intuit, Microsoft, Nucor, Socialtext, and many more.
With Griffith's deep understanding of today's business climate and her practical model for maximizing the potential of any organization's resources, The Plugged-In Manager is an essential tool for success in our fast-paced, interconnected world.
From the Back Cover
Praise for The Plugged-In Manager
"The Plugged-In Manager is required reading for every modern leader. Griffith shows that the best managers don't become fixated on, or freaked out by, the onslaught of new technologies. Instead, the best bosses blend these tools with the right talents and organizational designs so they can whomp the competition and create a place where people love to work."--Robert I. Sutton, professor, Stanford University; and bestselling author, Good Boss, Bad Boss
"You won't enchant people with a new product or service if it doesn't mix well with your employees. Read The Plugged-In Manager and make yourself more enchanting, more powerful, and more 'with it.'"--Guy Kawasaki, bestselling author, Enchantment; and former chief evangelist, Apple
"Want to help your organization kick ass in the marketplace? Read this book. It will prepare you to manage for this century, when most management books prepare you to lead in the last one."--Nilofer Merchant, behavioral strategist; and author, The New How
"Required reading--accessible, clear, authoritative, and practical."--Barry Z. Posner, coauthor, The Leadership Challenge and The Truth About Leadership; and professor of leadership, Santa Clara University
"Macrowikinomics outlines why and how we urgently need to reboot business and the world. The Plugged-In Manager opens eyes as to how we can move our organizations to that future."--Don Tapscott, coauthor, Macrowikinomics
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Top customer reviews
Terri L. Griffith is a brilliant professor of management at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. Her experience encompasses more than 25 years of research in organizations of all sizes and across industries, and she has developed deep insights about the realities of working with technology. Terri writes the award-winning blog "Technology and Organizations."
I'll admit, overall, this was not an easy read for ME--highly informative, yes, but not easy; I did a lot of rereading and note taking as I went from chapter to chapter. Not surprisingly, I found the stories and case studies that Terri provides to be the most interesting parts of the book. I'm recommending The Plugged-In Manager to you because...if you're in management, you're going to discover the specific concepts that the manager of today must understand and be able to implement, in order to be successful in today's ever-changing world of business. You're going to learn how to mix people, technology, and organization into strong, but flexible, business solutions. You're going to find out that if you're not "plugged in," you're operating in an old-fashioned manner that's costing you and your company dearly.
In Part One, Terri Griffith gives us the Three Practices of the Plugged-In Manager:
1. Stop-Look-Listen--"scanning for choices across the people, technology, and organization dimensions of workplace decisions."
2. Mixing--"creatively blending those choices into effective strategies and tactics."
3. Sharing--"ensuring that others understand your plugged-in approach and can work in parallel."
In Part Two, we're shown how to plug in, and we're offered suggestions and tools for developing our abilities into something even more powerful:
1. Assess Your Ability to Plug In.
2. Plugging In Through Practice.
3. The Layers of Plugged-In Management.
Do yourself a big favor and order The Plugged-In Manager today. Then get yourself plugged-in as quickly as you possibly can--you and your company will never be the same!
I particularly liked the chapter that discussed the practice of Stop-Look-Listen. It seems that we most generally miss opportunities to "plug-in" because we are in such a hurry to execute.
The case studies and examples in the book are both relevant and educational. Sometimes it seems that stories in these types of books are hard to apply to smaller teams or companies but Griffith did a good job of relating the stories to the core principles being taught.
During our Live Q&A webinar with Griffith, she also talked about some of the more common questions about the subject. The book also answers questions about generational differences to technology, application challenges in teams and companies, and the most common reasons people don't plug-in.
In any case, after struggling with how the title applied to the content, I eventually came away with what I now view as the core of Griffith's perspective, which I see as a kind of a phenomenology of an effective manager in the year 2012 AD, in a business environment (a) where change is indeed the only constant (day-to-day, moment-to-moment), (b) where organizations are more like open adaptive organisms in rapidly changing human and technological ecosystems and (c)where formal management perspectives, mindshare and communications have been overrun by vast uncontrolled flows containing often important, hidden information and insights. In this sense, Griffith both pays tribute to and differentiates her own perspective from her early moorings in the Carnegie School of organizational theory.
John Hagel III's preface brings clarity to the point of the book where he discusses the book in the context of a business world moving from "push" to "pull" and "stocks" to "flow." Hagel: "Whatever knowledge stocks we have, they are depreciating at an accelerating rate. In this environment, business success depends on our ability to participate effectively in a broader range of knowledge flows so that we can refresh our knowledge stocks more rapidly. The plugged-in manager is one who learns to harness knowledge flows in ways that create growing economic value..."
Griffith is very clear about the need for managers to maintain a balanced three dimensional (technology, people, organizational) approach to problem solving in today's complex, dynamic, socially-permeable, information-inundated business environment. S-L-L, Mixing, and Sharing are described as three different practices, but they really integrate into one, a kind of tao of pragmatic management for our modern world.
It is in this sense that I think the chosen title for Griffith's book does her and her work a disservice. "Plugged-in," to me, implies a kind of static technology-based connection (plugging into a socket or a motherboard) and so suggests a behavioral perspective that is more techno-centric and less dynamic and humanly visceral than the one Griffith actually expounds. Griffith's perspective, I believe, is one that reveals the manager as an actor in a world of flows, someone who must somehow solve the paradox of needing to be everywhere, sampling and sharing in information flows and mixing ideas and concepts to achieve plans suited for the moment. The importance of Griffith's model of a manager does not really lie in the actor being "plugged-in" at all, but rather being unplugged "and mobile," while still in dynamic communication with (and designing value creating responses to) a complex, changing web of technology, people, and organizational structures. The challenge of the modern manager is to adopt a stance and perform a Nietzschean dance that is always pressing the limits of "bounded rationality."
If I were Griffith's publisher, I would probably have lobbied to call the book, "The Agile Manager" or "The Quantum Manager." But no matter -- in the case of Griffith's work, the old adage holds true: "don't judge a book by its cover." More importantly, don't be confused by its title. Set the title aside and dive into the actual reading -- act like the kind of manager Griffith proposes that you become.