By Charlene Li on October 19, 2011
My colleague Brian Solis has just published his latest book, “The End Of Business As Usual: Rewire The Way You Work To Succeed“. I was so excited to finally hold the book in my hands, especially after months of having talked and worked with Brian about the ideas in the book.
This is not a book about how to use social media. Read Brian’s last book, “Engage” as it’s an excellent primer with detailed how-tos. Rather, “End of Business” seeks to explain to executives and leaders who aren’t engaged in social media how connected customers are transforming business as we know it.
Written from the point of view of the connected consumer, the first half of the book looks at phenomenons ranging from the evolution of social networks into personal operating systems to the rise of social commerce. If you read Brian’s blog, you’ll recognize Brian’s fingerprints all over these chapters — rich examples, clear explanations, and always a sense that Brian is at your side as a trusted guide.
But I found the most valuable insights in the second half of the book where Brian becomes prescriptive about how businesses need to approach business differently. In particular, Brian makes the case that you must evolve your business to become “adaptive” to the connected consumer. He’s evolved his call to action from “Engage or Die!” to “Adapt of Die!”. I quote from the book on what is different today:
“The pivot of any business is not whether it can reach consumers, it’s the reality of whether consumers, especially connected customers, wish to connect with them now and over time.”
Brian lays out how a business needs to rewire for this new reality, one that turns away from being internally driven by a strategic plan to one that is guided by an entire organization centered on creating a magical customer experience — and importantly, customer relationship — with these connected consumers. Thus the hallmark of an adaptive business is that it will shift and evolve as an organization, from top to bottom, to be responsive to customers. The last three chapters resonated the most with me, as they layout the framework for an adaptive business, how to evolve your business to shift from rigid to adaptive, and the future evolution into predictive businesses.
You can read more about the book at endofbusiness.com. Other resources:
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DZ9XAzwhlA
Jeremiah Owyang’s post: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2011/10/18/adapting-to-radical-changes-in-business
By Charlene Li on June 4, 2011
Three years ago, Josh Bernoff and I proudly launched our book, Groundswell. To our astonishment, it has sold more than 100,000 books and now a new, updated paperback version is available (links below), with two new chapters on how to use Twitter and social maturity.
A lot has changed over the past three years – in May 2008, Facebook and Twitter were still nascent and the iPhone had no apps! To address this, Josh added a new chapter about Twitter. But the theme of the book — that you have to focus first on the relationships created by social technologies (and not the technologies themselves) – still resonates today.
At the same time, very little has changed. One of my favorite examples in Groundswell is how Dell responded to one of their notebooks spontaneously bursting into flames in June 2006. The chief blogger, Lionel Menchaca, wrote a blog post titled, “Flaming Notebook” that linked to a photo of that laptop on fire. Talk about guts! That was five years ago, and as a whole, organizations still lack the maturity to be able to truly engage in an honest, authentic dialog – despite their adoption of social technologies.
Groundswell has a new chapter discussing social maturity and Forrester published a report this week on the topic. My organization, Altimeter Group, has done research and consulting on this, as have agencies like Dachis. The fact that so many people are chiming in on how to address social strategies is an indication of the strong interest. But the fact that so many organizations are still treating social as a marketing and messaging channel demonstrates that we still have a long, long way to go.
A key reason why I wrote my second book, Open Leadership, is because leaders could viscerally feel the change that social media was causing in the pit of their stomach – and they lacked the framework to understand how to think, act, and lead in a new environment where relationships were being formed in these new channels. Leadership is built on relationships, and leaders in general have failed to grasp this change.
But by far my favorite part of the new paperback edition is the quotes from readers describing the impact Groundswell has had on them. It is the most gratifying and humbling experience as an author to know that your words have had an impact. I love it when readers show me their books that have been highlighted, dog-eared, and filled with post-it notes. (This photo is from Elizabeth Gebhardt, who showed me her book at an event in 2009.) And I am especially awed when people tell me that Groundswell inspired them to start new jobs or even careers because of the inspiration they got from the book.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of the readers of Groundswell, and I hope to all of the new readers that you find it just as relevant today. It has been a joy hearing from you over the past three years and I hope to continue growing the relationship we’ve begun!
Where to buy the Groundswell paperback:
By Charlene Li on September 7, 2010
A final reminder that the Open Leadership Awards submission process is drawing to a close. There were some problems with the Web site and submission details, so we are extending the deadline to Monday, September 13th at 6pm Pacific Time for submissions.
And I’m offering a special bonus to the first three organizations to submit an entry — a free one-hour call with me. So don’t wait until the last minute –take advantage of the opportunity to connect with me one-on-one and submit ASAP!
Entering a case study is easy – go to the Open Leadership Awards site where you can get detailed information and submit a case study. You’ll be asked to register and provide basic contact information before you see the submission page.
The case study submission has four required essays:
1. Long description (500 words or less). Describe an example of open leadership where the organization enabled better, more open relationships with either customers and/or employees. Include specific examples of the use of social technology enabled more open information sharing and/or decision making.*
2. Leadership (500 words or less). Describe how a person(s) affected the outcome of this program. This can be an individual’s initiative, a supportive executive, or person on the front lines.
3. Impact (500 words or less). How did this program add value to the organization? Impact can be quantitative or qualitative, but there needs to be proven impact. Example: % of employees engaging with customers increased from x to y over the last six months.
4. What have you learned (500 word or less). Describe the journey the organization took, especially how you overcame the obstacles and failures along the way.
In addition, there is a Short Description (100 words or less). This is a summary of your submission. You will also be able to include a URL as well as upload materials such as photos, videos or presentations.
Any questions? Send an email to openleadership (at) altimetergroup (dot) com.
By Charlene Li on July 1, 2010
Update: This contest is closed and winners have been contacted. Thanks so much to those who participated!
Last year, I gave away such a meeting for a charity auction and the lunch I had with Solarwinds resulted in a case study that I included in the “Open Leadership” book. So think of the possibilities!
To enter, go to the Entry Form and enter the following information:
No purchase is necessary….but I’d really appreciate it if you’d purchase a copy of “Open Leadership”. It also makes a great gift for your management team! Purchasing a copy has no impact whatsoever on your chances of winning in the random drawing.
*In person meetings are in the Bay Area or wherever I may be traveling. They cannot require additional travel on my part.
By Charlene Li on June 30, 2010
Please join me for an evening discussion at the Clearvale SecondFloor speaker series on Wednesday, August 18th at 5pm in Redwood City, CA. I’ll be doing a general Q&A and also discussing the “Open Leadership” book. (The date for the event was originally set for July 14th but I had to move it because of a conflict on my part.)
The event will be hosted by Dr. Pehong Chen, Founder and CEO of BroadVision, and will take place on the second floor of BroadVision’s corporate headquarters, 1600 Seaport Boulevard, Redwood City, CA.
Free copies of “Open Leadership” will be distributed and I’ll be conducting a book signing immediately after the Q&A. To RSVP, just go to SecondFloor’s Meetup page to register. Hope to see you there!