Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Adapting to Radical Changes in Business


End of Business

Colleague Brian Solis’s latest book, which focused on organizational change across many of today’s disruptive companies launches –I want you to buy End of Business as Usual now for your team.

In the spirit of Groundswell, Open Leadership, and Engage, another book to your business library is available.

The book is organized in two distinct phases. The first focuses on the changes to the converged and connected customers, the external forces. This is suitable for anyone who’s focused on customer strategy from marketing to support to product innovation.

The second half is designer for changes leaders within your company. These change agents within corporations may be managers, VPs, and your CEO who wants to shift the corporation to quickly adapt.

Across all of the book, I was excited to see see charts, diagrams, bring the book to life, including some of Altimeter’s work on org models and how companies are changing internally. If you want to learn more about the book, see the dedicated page discussing the premise at End of Business.

Altimeter Book: ‘Open Leadership’ the Next Phase of Groundswell


Open LeadershipIf you’re a catalyst for change within your organization, this book is for you, you should buy several copies for your organization today.

I’m proud to be part of the next generation of Groundswell, my business partner Charlene Li’s book ‘Open Leadership’ hits the shelves today.  If you want your management team to accelerate their thinking for your social business programs, this book offers insights, examples of how other leaders have embraced these technologies, internal audits, checklists and even ROI formulas that the C-Suite demands.

Like the prequel Groundswell, Open Leadership stems from solid research and yields real world use cases.  For those of you that are managing existing social business programs you know how the biggest challenge is causing  a culture change to happen from inside out.  One of the key levers in your business program will be to obtain executive buy-in in order to bless organizational change –without it, you’re plane can truly never leave the runway without great risk.

We work closely with many of the world’s social strategist’s a corporations, and know that the biggest challenge is a cultural change of letting go to gain more. This book, is a useful tome of knowledge that can accelerate learning within your executive suite. Use this book to quickly find examples of how other leaders around the globe are adoption social technologies in order to gain more.

I’d also like to point out, from an internal point of view (having worked with her a few years now) that she truly lives and embodies the spirit of being open. She ‘let go’ of a lot of control of the company in order to make it a partnership, and is always open to our eccentric ideas. Aside from being a thought leader in the concept of Open Leadership, she lives it within her own company.   I was previously involved in reviewing Groundswell before it was published and joined the Groundswell team, and am very proud to be back again working closely with Charlene here at Altimeter Group.

So, if you’re already investing your career to catalyze change within your organization, add octane to your efforts by getting your team, and executives moving faster by ordering a case of Open Leadership now, rarely do I ask you to take action and buy anything, but I ask that you do so now

Open Leadership Resources

Update: Thanks to you, it’s working, it’s now #10 on Amazon and #6 on Barnes & Noble as best sellers.

Book Review: ‘Good For Business’ Asks The Right Questions, But Doesn’t Give the Answer


Good For BusinessI’m attending Steve Forbes’s CMO event in Florida with Charlene Li, and part of the recommended reading for all attendees is the book Good for Business, which came nicely packaged to my desk. Not one to defy Steve Forbes, and certainly wanting to be a good student, I’ve consumed the book on my flight, and share my notes openly, here’s what I found:

The Thesis: The Corporation of the Future Should Inspire Trust
Selling products to make a profit is no longer sufficient. Companies must also appease the human nature of their customers as they are now demanding sustainability, open conversation, helping the community, transparency, and an ethos and mission they can relate to. The book asks four fundamental questions, they are: 1) Do customers care about what the brand stands for beyond just the immediate use of the product? 2) Do customers talk to each other about these higher goals 3) What should companies do to assure their brand is more than a collection of boxes or software code? 4) Does it impact the bottom line? If so, how much?

Unlike Other “Do-Good” Books, There’s Useful Data
Good for Business is a touchy-feely book which ultimately concludes that companies need have loftier goals than just profit such as donating to charities, volunteer work, and brands that make you feel warm and fuzzy. At first, I groaned when reading the start of the book, having been victim of “do good” speeches when I was in corporate –it always felt like an empty shell.   Yet the book started to win me over when the four authors presented meaningful stats and graphs about the growing fickle customer, their desire for brands to be more than just profit machines. Using data they made an argument that companies showing their human appeal a worth while investment.

Chock Full Of Case Studies –With Measurable Business Impact
I’m not sold that the earthy huggy ‘humanized brand’ is right for every company, some cultures simply won’t be able to adapt and some customers just want their immediate needs solved. The book also gives dozens of case studies of companies that have an ethos of more than just profit such as: Jones Soda empowers customers by letting consumers pick labels, Ernst and Young connects with their millennial employees talk back by launching an internal community called “Feedback Zone”. The Container Store is one of the top places to work as they allow employees to have flexible hours, How UK’s Innoccent drinks values it’s employees more than sales and profits and dozens of other examples.

Jeremiah’s Review: Good For Business

The Good: A Convincing Argument
The book Good for Business sets the stage that the world has changed and companies need to change too. It also gives some juicy data points and dozens of anecdotes of companies that have made the leap. It’s well-written, and can be consumed in a few hours.

The Bad: Leaves More Questions Than Answers
The book falls short in a two ways. While stories are entertaining for a long flight I find myself asking more questions that were unanswered, like: 1) What were the challenges these companies went through during this metamorphosis? What was the common barrier  2) Although there’s a loose framework towards the end of the book, how do I get started? How do I do this?  Although a nitpick, while the cover art is catchy, yet the smiley faced button is reminiscent of Walmart (was that intentional?) or the comic book movie The Watchman, which has no relation to this topic.

The Verdict:  Addresses Right Questions, But Doesn’t Tell You How
Good for Business asks the right questions, get you thinking, but seems it’s missing a few chapters. The thesis convinces you that changes need to be made, but feels empty, as it never tells you how to do it. I recommend you put Good For Business on your reading list, but read the more important books that give a pragmatic approach. To summarize, I give this book a grade of a “B” or “Four out of Five Stars”. If anything, this book is calling for a sequel to answer these questions.

That’s just my take, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book, or your comments on similar titles.