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The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  551 ratings  ·  49 reviews
TODAY’S LEADERS KNOW THAT SPEED and agility are the keys to any company’s success, and yet many are frustrated that their organizations can’t move fast enough to stay competitive. The typical chain of command is too slow; internal resources are too limited; people are already executing beyond normal expectations. As the pace accelerates, how do you inspire people’s energy
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Harvard Business Review Press
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If you've been with an organization for a significant duration, the perspective and understanding is often sharply different than what outsiders have. I've been at #RedHat for the greater part of 11 years and as is usually expected, faced the "How is it to work at Red Hat?" question a number of times.

The question is simple and perhaps the audience demands a pithy response. The truth is that such an answer is pretty much impossible to craft. How do you begin to explain a company that has as its m
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had been hoping for more detail, although some interesting stories, any references to problems or resolutions too high level to give any practical understanding
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
I'll start with the disclaimer that I was a Red Hat employee and Jim, who is Red Hat's CEO distributed the book to those who wanted to read it and I was one of those people.

I liked reading the book. The reason for that is the same reason of why I work(ed) at Red Hat: I am an Open Source fan and wanted to see how a company based on Open source works in the real world.
I think most people interested in open source will find the book interesting and informative. Maybe no mind blowing things will be
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book on moving from autocratic leadership to open, inspiring, and communal leadership. It uses the idea of open sourcing. The reason this book separates itself from others is that there is a lot here that can be used to motivate free agency and meritocracy.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful Read

So many nuggets. For all of the information that I want to reject, I know that those are the exact principles that I need to practice implementing. Looking forward to sharing this one.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book about the COO of Delta, moving to become the CEO of Red Hat. It's a short read, that tells the story of a different type of org.

It's like a practical guide on how to deal with open organisations.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t expect to enjoy this book.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Whitehurst, as Chief Operating Officer of Delta Airlines, created and fostered a team of employees based upon personal and collective input, collaboration and sacrifice. After taking over the operations helm at Delta, he was faced with keeping the airline afloat and employees/unions secure while fighting off a huge corporate takeover by a competing airline. He did this through a policy of open communication, complete transparency and by treating every single employee like “they mattered” re ...more
Mike Randall
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm biased since I work for the company, so a review likely isn't appropriate. ...more
Demetris Cheatham
Thank you to Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, for writing a book about the working environment that calls to my true nature! Within the 200 pages of The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance, he was able to define the seemingly nontraditional and unorthodox management style that I’ve utilized throughout my career. There are no hierarchies, the best ideas win, processes and structure are frowned upon and you are in charge of your own executive buy in. No matter where you fall within ...more
Charvak Patel
I gave up reading this book at 65%. Now based on that you pretty much know where this review is going.
- This is a self-help book, not a management book. Lack of case studies, lack of direct actions, or data to support what one is saying and refer to the next point.
- This is not a critical analysis. It is a sales pitch for going open.
- This review is not a review of Redhat but this book.

This could have been a wonderful article for HBR. But the writer decides to write a book about it. Many manage
Douglas Brown
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Practical management of a collaborative organization

Hundreds of authors have generated thousands of books urging leaders to move beyond hierarchical forms. They all assure us that we will feel much better about ourselves if we do but few of them offer any suggestions for how this will actually work. This book is the exception, providing some insights into the actual management approaches used in collaboration at scale. Jim Whitehurst is also unapologetic about the fact that this is no simple rec
Cezary Zminkowski
Very good book, showing the vision where you might want to be with your organization if you do things right as servant leader with self organized fully engaged teams and individuals. A lot of similarity with book "Creativity Inc" where Creativity is about Pixar vs Disney culture differences between two organizations one fully Agile an the other fully corporate, same Open Organization book compares RedHat culture with AirLine corporate culture.

worth reading but same like Creativity Inc and few o
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Surprisingly full of good leadership advice - a book that advocates looking down, not up — in order to be successful. The CEO of Red Hat discusses employee engagement, peer-to-peer management, taking time to listen to what’s needed/wanted, and the need to focus more on caring for people than achievement. Other gems of wisdom include: 1) technology doesn’t drive engagement, leaders do; 2) take care of people and they’ll take care of you, but don’t coddle - enforce accountability; 3) lavishly spoi ...more
María Salas
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sitting on the airport waiting for my mom as I write this review.

I really liked this book, it felt real, sincere and it was fucking inspiring.

Many things left me happy about this book, two in particular:
1) I'm taking a promising path in my career
2) The company I work at, and specially my team, have many important characteristics that are mentioned throughout this book and I admit it's part of what fuels my monday to friday life there.

A big and secret shoutout to my boss for being "the open s
Mario Sailer
The book is quite inspiring, but not very concrete. Jim Whitehurst talks a lot about what they to and why they do it at Red Hat, but when it comes to how they do it, he pretty much stays on the surface.

And, in my opinion there is a little flaw in the book, which I have to address as a German. He seems to confuse the OODA loop from John Boyd (the depiction of which resembles more the PDCA-Cycle form William Edwards Deming in the book) with the strategy process that Helmut von Molke developed for
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a glimpse in the future of people management and innovating. In this ever-changing, insanely fast evolving world, centralizing the decision-making and problem-solving only in a few people won't help organizations to keep up. Red Hats's principles of management empowers their employees and engages them into working and thinking together towards success.

I know by experience it's not easy to follow these open source values and thinking, but it
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The timing of this read felt particularly relevant as the company I work for is moving towards a more open and collaborative culture. Silos and strictly top-down hierarchies slow down organizations and prevent the kind of innovation that comes from cross-functional collaboration. I appreciated the author's insight on how to unlock passion and how to inspire motivated employees with a strong shared vision. I think it's a worth while read for any company that wants to be more agile and develop a c ...more
Carlos Martínez Gadea
This book has cleared my path towards the foundation of my current project to a level I never expected before. The way it deals with team work, management, vision of a company, monetization and personal fulfillment (for the people involved in a project) it's simply brilliant.

I appreciate as well the transparency that infuses the author on the way he talks about all the previous topics. He is very honest and that is an aptitude that not many people have and which is very well needed (IMHO).
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read. I wish my leadership in all of my precious employers had understood the concepts here, and enabled my team to accomplish everything that we could have. We would have accomplished far more this way than in our limited and constricting environments, and retained the good people longer.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Red Hat has a unique and possibly revolutionary business model, enabled by new forms of technology and organization. If you are looking for a deep dive into how they pull this off you’re unfortunately going to have to write it yourself, or find some good blogs. If on he other hand you want a fluffy feel good piece of drivel about the magical properties of open source software, eat your heart out.
Tom Boonen
Interesting open explanation on how Jim whitehurst experienced the unique red hat culture of an open source community that generates real customer value at a fraction of the cost of traditional software companies.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I currently work for Red Hat, who's CEO wrote this book.)
Being an open organization is a significant but worthwhile culture shift. If you are not working towards an open organization you can start today.
Tom Simmons
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on the future of organizations. Red Hat has created an open culture that is leading to great innovation and passion in its employees.
Dave Pusey
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating concepts. A little repetitive but helpful!
Flo Gourmel
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve joined Red Hat last year but only got the chance to read the book of our CEO now.
Happy to see what lays behind the amazing culture that makes me love my job.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every management personnel

This books contradicts everything we have learnt at business schools and challenges us to take the opposite approach for better results.
Mary Zepeda
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim shares interesting management ideas based on Red Hat’s experience with a strong global community in which every member is committed and brings something for the continuous Linux development.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Open, honest, authentic, passionate, responsive and fast leadership is today’s melody and this can be essential for any company that wishes to thrive, yet still so many companies don’t get it (particularly the larger enterprises) and they wonder why things can often run sub-optimally or degenerate. An “Open Organization” is key, rightly claims the author.

This book is his professional story, his passion and his insight all mixed into one powerful, yet comparatively small book. It tells how any co
Piotr Uryga
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read-books

Book that shows you how to build organization based on merit and not on hierarchy. Will be useful even for those who are in hierarchical organization.

It reminded me how important is to spend a lot of time explaining reasoning for your actions, it's never wasted time. Employees want and can understand business if you spend enough time explaining it to bridge information gap between leadership and employees.

It also stresses that meritocracy is not democracy. One's influence over decisions is bas
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