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Open Leadership

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  811 ratings  ·  46 reviews
An essential guide for leaders who want to use social media to be open while maintaining control

Be Open, Be Transparent, Be Authentic are the current leadership mantras-but companies often push back. Business is premised on the concept of control and yet the new world order demands openness-leaders do not know how to be open and be in control. This must-have resource will
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published May 24th 2010 by John Wiley & Sons (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  811 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I added this as a required reading in a graduate Technology and Society class. In some ways, it was more about the 40-year-old "flat management" theories and models of leadership than the technology, per se, but did give many good examples of how both employers and employees using social media is changing the workplace. ...more
Keith Swenson
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
It is a good book, valuable in the right situation, but gave it three stars because my own interest is more about the vision behind the technology. I really liked Groundswell which she wrote with Josh Bernoff. Open Leadership follows on by talking about the qualities that a leader would need to have, to lead an organization that will make use of social technology.

One of its strong points is that it speaks to managers, directors, and CXOs about management style. It makes a strong and unflinching
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
While parts of this book were a bit dry and not the most thrilling to read, I liked Li's inclusion of different anecdotes of what companies had done in the past to show transparency. With so many different policies, it was interesting to read case studies to see what past C-suite officers had done, and what management styles stuck or did not. My takeaways are that good leaders can trust their team members, and thus be open, with good communication, to help their teams reach the goals they set!
Sarah Sutton
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Social Media enthusiasts, business leaders, communicators
Recommended to Sarah by: University of Washington
Shelves: practical
I recently finished reading Open Leadership by Charlene Li. I "stumbled" upon this book on a reading list for the University of Washington's Masters of Communication in Digital Technology program. I didn't know anything about the book, but the subtitle: "How Social Technology can Transform the Way You Lead," intrigued me. I've recently become a junkie for all things social.

Shortly after I started reading Open Leadership, I discovered that Charlene Li is an acknowledged industry leader in social
J.D. Lasica
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
e first thing to under­stand about Char­lene Li’s smart new book “Open Lead­er­ship” is that this is not a call to arms for top man­age­ment to deploy a loosey-goosey, feel-good strat­egy of giv­ing up com­plete con­trol of your man­age­ment struc­ture. Nor is it yet another busi­ness book about effec­tive cor­po­rate lead­er­ship techniques.

Instead, Open Lead­er­ship: How Social Tech­nol­ogy Can Trans­form the Way You Lead is about how to rein­vent com­pa­nies (as they must be) for the age of s
Juliana Rosati
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Open Leadership How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead (J-B Warren Bennis Series) by Charlene Li Charlene Li

In this follow-up to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies,” Li takes an even broader look at social media’s implications. Where “Groundswell” defined social media activity as a trend in which people use technology to get what they need from each other rather than from companies, this new volume outlines the ways in which concepts of leadership, company culture and organizational models are evolving to fit the new “open”
Ismail Elshareef
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business, nonfiction
How do you lead effectively in a world that is extremely connected and where ideas flow fast and with passion between individuals? How do you manage control in an era where grievances about your business are broadcast the moment they're experienced? Business leaders will get their answers reading this book. Moreover, I think the ideas in this book are beyond the scope of business and leadership; They are pointers for being an effective Open entity in today's world.

Companies like to think of the
Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead is a great look at how technology is changing how transparent leadership needs to be to survive in this day and age. It looks at how open your organization is and what areas can you open to the public/employees. Realistically somethings cannot be open. If you have a public company there are things you will not share.

Showing how to become a more open leader, is an important part of this book. Learning to create a place where th
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
When most of the current CEOs of large established companies were in college or getting their MBAs, social media had not been invented. Heck, in some cases, the Internet had not even been in play. Just as most of us could never imagine a business model that did not have the Internet as part of its DNA, surely in the near future (I'm talking later this week!), I predict it will be impossible for any viable business to not have social media at its core. And that's the message Charlene Li makes in ...more
Sue Cartwright
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Charlene Li is a leading expert in social media and thought-leadership, founder of the Altimeter Group and co-author of best-selling book, Groundswell. In 2006, Charlene was hired to rescue the American Red Cross from escalating criticism about their response to Hurricane Katrina.

This book begins with the story of how Charlene enabled the Red Cross to turn things round by being open and engaging with their people using social media. She demonstrates how greater transparency and authenticity can
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: or-bus-entrep
I really enjoyed this book. I think there is something here for everyone who is a part of any organization in today's technological world. The benefits of designing any organization with a model for openness has really come to the fore in recent decades. It isn't that models for openness have not existed prior to now, but rather that we are better able to understand their benefits, now, in our highly connected world. As institutions learn to embrace openness and receptiveness to accountability, ...more
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead by Charlene Li was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2010.


In Open Leadership, Charlene Li (the coauthor of the bestseller Groundswell) offers the next step resource that shows leaders how to tap into the power of the social technology revolution and use social media to be “open” while at the same time maintaining control.

Soundview's 8-page Executive Book Su
Luciano Palma
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Again, Charlene Li shares a great vision about how smart organizations should work on this Century.
She puts the benefits of being open in a clear way, even if the explanations about measuring ROI are a bit indirect.
Talking about innovation without being open will look like BS after reading this book. Innovation and opennes are definetely best friends.
The last part of the book is a bit repetitive, but it's really worth to pay attention to the pages dedicated to the analysis of a "good failer orga
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Charlene Li has followed her bestselling Groundswell with a fantastic call to action for the modern organization. Her ability to weave case studies from Dell, Cisco, Best Buy, and State Bank of India into a clear prescription for transforming to an Open culture was very intriguing. The concepts of empowering a small group of Influencers, using the Engagment Pyramid to measure success, and beginning a product strategy blog to begin a conversation with users are tactics that I have already put int ...more
Apr 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
A good book for senior leadership struggling with how social media impacts their business. I really like the way Charlene calls attention to the fact that open leadership doesn't mean anarchy, in fact it is just the opposite. Open leadership works best when there are clear ground rules or guidelines that everyone is aware of. The challenge of open leadership is that there needs to be strong communication. Employees need to understand mission/strategy, need clearly defined roles and responsibilit ...more
Tim Lindeman
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read this book with the goal of understanding more about social media and its place in the workplace. Charlene Li offers a systematic approach to "open leadership" with a focus on how social media technologies enable information sharing both inside and outside organizations. The book contains a number of action plans, self-assessments, and case studies. It was a struggle for me to read through to the end though, perhaps because I work for a small company, and this book is geared for large orga ...more
Jay Salikin
Jul 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It's a whole new way of thinking. I know there are a lot of people not there, and may never go there. It is a different way of thinking, and if people are successful in the positions they currently hold, they often resist the ideas of this book (why fix it if it ain't broke). I think listening to people and attempting to get authentic voice is the way to a successful organization. ...more
Mike Nicholson
Phrases like "giving up control" and "transparency" are addressed. I liked that she was not attempting to apply these ideas as a blanket to any organization under any circumstance, but rather describes it in terms of levels or volumes (my interpretation). Chapters 7 & 8 probably the most applicable for leaders in a military organization as she describes the traits of what she describes is an 'open' leader (Optimism, curiosity, humility, etc). ...more
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
As a marketer and social media communication advocate, this is the type of book I want to wallpaper my brain with. Not only does is provide great advice on how to develop a strategic "open leadership" work culture, but it also offers great case studies on companies that are doing it successfully and not so successfully. ...more
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
tend to overvalue what easily measured and undervalue what difficult to measure, transparent, authentic, most difficult to change are most successful, skeptic optimist, individual collaborator, not inclined to collaborate, coach ref, humility of openess, arrogance of closed, trust sincere competent reliable, min what went wrong more to better.
Nov 12, 2010 is currently reading it
This book is really making me rethink the nature of leadership in business. It also applies to non-profits. The collaborative nature of the younger generation coming into the workforce almost guarantees a challenge to closed leadership.
Amanda Mitchell
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: open-government
This book is very useful for anyone who would like to implement social media or online engagement opportunities but can't because senior management is against the idea. It offers a useful framework to help overcome potential fears that might exist.

Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A very good blend of inspiration and implementation. It helps build the case for social media and gives tools to help develop a strategy to do it.
Seth Thomas
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Helpful view of social media and leadership. A bit more geared towards large companies, but still valuable for all who lead and are willing to step into the new age of collaboration and openness.
John Stepper
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I would have liked more examples and more data. Yet the book was still useful (eg the section on social covenants/policies).
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: digital
Engaging and entertaining. Informative, good best practices.
Stacy Nunnally
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Enjoying this book... full review to come.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, nothing new that is not common sense to those of us in the work force. Would be great for management to read and actually follow, but we all know this will not happen :)
Michelle Miller Birckhead
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good case studies throughout.
Bobby Verlaan
guides people traditionally in control to unleash the power of the social organisation by making little steps.
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For the past two decades, Charlene Li has been helping people see the future. She’s the author of six books, including her latest, The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Businesses Transform While Others Fail. She also wrote the New York Times bestseller Open Leadership and co-authored the critically-acclaimed book, Groundswell.

Charlene is also an entrepreneur, the Founder and Senior Fellow at Altimeter

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56 likes · 14 comments
“need to let go of the need to be in control.” 13 likes
“FORGIVE FAILURE. The corollary to accountability is forgiveness. Things go wrong all the time in relationships, and the healthiest ones move on from them, leaving behind grudges and blame. This is not to say that failure is accepted; rather, that it is acknowledged and understood.” 9 likes
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