Last chance to enter the Open Leadership Awards (plus a bonus)

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.

Win a Free Meeting with Charlene Li

Update: This contest is closed and winners have been contacted. Thanks so much to those who participated!

I’m thrilled that my new book, “Open Leadership”, was recently named #5 on the New York Times bestseller list.To celebrate, I’m giving away five one-hour meetings (in person* or on the phone). You can use this meeting to ask questions, have me do a Webinar for your company, share cool things you are doing — and if it’s in person, I’ll even buy you lunch!

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:

  • Your name, title, company/organization, and email.
  • The first “Rule of Open Leadership” which appears on page 14 of the book. If you don’t have the book already, you can find it in many retail stores. A list of places to find the book online is available at Or find the book on Google Books where you can quickly flip to page 14.

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.

Complete entry and giveaway rules are available and if you have questions, please send an email to

*In person meetings are in the Bay Area or wherever I may be traveling. They cannot require additional travel on my part.

Join me at Clearvale SecondFloor speaking event, August 18th

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!

How open are you? Conduct an Openness Audit to find out.

When “Groundswell” came out, I was frequently asked the seemingly innocent little question “How open do I need to be?” It was asked in the face of managers and executives being asked to engage with customers and employees for the first time. It seems fairly obvious to those of us steeped in the world of social technologies — you just are open, authentic, and transparent.

But for many people where Facebook and Twitter represent alien planets fraught with danger, this is a very valid question. For organizations in particular, being open brings with it the reality that business — and people for that matter — simply cannot be completely open and transparent.

Ten Elements of Openness from the book "Open Leadership".So to answer the question “How open do you need to be?”, I first define what it means to be open in 10 different areas. Those areas are laid out in the graphic here, and are divided into two areas: 1) Information sharing; and 2) Decision making.

The next step is to then conduct an Openness Audit that looks at how open your organization is across these 10 areas. The six Information Sharing elements of Explaining, Updating, Conversing, Open Mic, Crowdsourcing, and Platforms in particular can be evaluated on a simple numerical score, giving you an openness score.

That score and the detail behind it becomes a powerful tool for aligning your organization — it provides a starting point for discussing how open you need to be because you’ll start from an understanding of how open you ARE.

And I’ve seen the Openness Audit in action, using it within companies to create alignment, and at conferences with a diverse group of attendees. Last week, I rounded out a keynote speech at Buzz2010 in Washington, DC with an openness audit, and I thought I’d share some of the observations:

  • Some people were astonished at how low their scores were, especially in areas where they thought they were fairly open. The Audit became a task list for them to go back and understand if they were appropriate open, or if they needed to be more open to accomplish their goals.
  • Two people from the same organization, but two different problems, arrived at radically different scores. It was interesting as a group to hear how this was possible, and also a warning that such disparity can lead to tension within the organization on how to approach engagement with employees and customers.
  • And several people planned to take the Audit back to their organizations, to use it as an assessment and change management tool, aiding discussion around how open they needed to be.

So to that end, I’m making available the Openness Audit from the book and workshops so that you can run an audit directly. You can download it directly from or use an interactive version on this site in the Resources section. Of course, I’d love it if you’d also buy the book to get more detailed explanations on what each of these open elements entail, and also how to craft and execute an open leadership strategy!

And please comment back with your observations on how the Openness Audit helped you better understand how open you are. And if you’re brave, share the results of your openness audit!

Openness Audit PDF Download

Looking for “Open Leadership” sightings

Two years ago, Josh Bernoff and I really enjoyed watching our book, Groundswell, launch and roll into bookstores across the country. One enterprising person, eager to get the book, even went around to the store’s loading dock and got it right off the delivery truck!

While the publisher, Jossey-Bass, has set Monday, May 24th as the launch date for Open Leadership, we’re not quite sure when the book will actually appear in the stores. That’s because it’s up to each individual store to get the books, unpack them, and get it up on the shelves and tables.

While I’ve been traveling to promote the book at various conferences, I’ve been sticking my head into as many airport bookstores as I can manage, hoping to catch a glimpse of the book on the shelves. Alas, no success yet!

So I’d like to get your help — as the book becomes available in retail stores, please send me reports of sightings of Open Leadership “in the wild”!  If you tweet it, use the hashtags #openleadership and #sighting, add the location, and include a photo if you can. Or if it’s easier, send an email (and photo if available) to me at charlene (at) altimetergroup (dot) com.

As a thank you, I’ll send a signed bookplate to the first 50 sightings that I receive. Include your address if you’re using email and I’ll figure out a way to get your address if you’re tweeting.