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Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power their Organizations Hardcover – June 19, 2012
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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
ADVANCE PRAISE for Talk, Inc.
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 conversationin contrast to the traditional corporate communication’ modelis 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 pricelessespecially 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 bookand 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
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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.
Hopefully you found this review helpful.
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.
These are among the passages, themes, and concepts that caught my eye throughout the narrative:
o Why the shift from corporate communication to organizational conversation has occurred (Pages 7-8)
o Trust-based leadership (13-16)
o How to gain and give trust (18-20)
o Practical tips on how to promote "conversational intimacy" (55-60)
o The interdependence of "hard" assets and "soft" assets (81-85)
o "Three Pillars of Wisdom" (105-108)
o The benefits and perils of allowing employees to generate organizational (social) content (137-140)
o How to enable and leverage employee-generated content (163-169)
o The unique challenges of formulating an appropriate strategy for organizational conversation (178-184)
o How to determine "which communication efforts fall into which buckets" (225-228)
Groysberg and Slind make effective use of several real-world mini-case studies that illustrate both the potential benefits and (yes) perils of organizational conversation. There are exemplars: Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (Chapter 2), Cisco Systems (Chapter 5), EMC Corporation (Chapter 8), and Kingfisher PLC (Chapter 11).
Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original expectations and one of the reasons is defective leadership (lack of character and/or incompetence), especially at the C-level. That said, all organizations need trust-based leadership at all levels and in all areas of operation. One of the most important and yet least understood benefits of organizational conversation is its unique power to facilitate, indeed expedite building trust-based relationships throughout the given enterprise.
In my opinion, Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind are world-class empiricists and pragmatists who have an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn't, and why. They are determined (obsessed?) to help develop as many trusted leaders who can then make effective use of organizational conversation to power their organizations.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out other sources, such as Holly Weeks's Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them; TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments, co-authored by Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard; Robert B. Cialdini 's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion; and two co-authored by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler: Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success and Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition.