Review of "Open Leadership" – By Charlene Li via Gil Yehuda

Gil shares his thoughts on Charlene Li’s book Open Leadership:

The premise: leadership remains a requirement. Open and Social business are not leaderless — quite the contrary, they are lead in a manner that leverages new behaviors. To leverage them, they must adopt and model them too — but from the perspective of a leader. And thus, leaders still must manage, measure, correct, take control and hold responsibility for results. Open Leadership is not the abdication of leadership — it’s the careful release of control in areas where that release is beneficial, and in some cases inevitable.

Charlene reminds us this is not a new call to action — it is an echo of Peter Drucker’s Decentralized Authority model (1946), Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leader model (1970), and Tom Peters’ Employee-led Teams model (1982). And yet, there is much new this time around. Social technologies on the Internet are now intrinsic to the primary activities of most consumers and workers. In fact, ignoring this new reality is abdication of leadership. You can no longer avoid the groundswell. It’s time to understand it.

Gil steps through the various parts of the book:
– Part 1, about rules and relationships, and openness.
– Part 2, a discussion of controlled openness, and especially how to handle failure.
– Part 3, which looks at how the art and science of leadership are changing.

Gil also commented about that he had to translate the ideas in the book away from the CEO office so he could apply them to his world / work.

My Comments
1. Thanks to Gil for writing a review of this book, and sharing his perspective. Good stuff.

2. Yesterday I asked whether Apple would be more successful if Steve was more “collaborative.” From what Gil’s written, Charlene has provided data and ways of thinking about that question – and especially that “collaboration” is not a 0% vs 100% factor, but rather more subtle about where/when to collaborate and not as a leader.

3. Looks like a valuable addition to your library – in hardcover or for your Kindle.

One thought on “Review of "Open Leadership" – By Charlene Li via Gil Yehuda

  1. Michael,
    Wow, thanks for picking up on my review. You ask a great question about Steve Job’s leadership style. I’ll share with you that in one part of the book, Charlene asks a related question — hinting to the reaction that many companies have when they say “that’s all nice, but we’re not Apple” — and they are right. Some companies stand out as iconic brands, with spectacular marketing, products, or reputations. And in the case of Apple, there is irony here — since it’s not known as a particularly “open” company. Her response is not too deep, but probably right anyway. She basically says yup, you are not Apple — they can get away with being the way they are.
    I think your conclusion is spot on. Jobs is as open as he is — for better or worse. So far, Apple seems to be doing fine. Could he/they do even better? It’s hard to play armchair quarterback here. But indeed, when it comes to leaders, “Open” is about the balanced loosing of control in specific areas.
    Thanks again for your thoughts on this topic.

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