When a writer representing the Harvard Business School contacted me some time ago requesting an interview for a book he was writing, I got a little excited. He was looking at how companies communicate with employees today, suspecting there was a better way -- suspecting the old school norms just didn't engage talent and power the business like it should. Hallelujah!
Introducing Talk, Inc., the resulting book just released by Harvard Business Press. It is an excellent tool for anyone wondering how to crack code when it comes to strategy engagement, cross-organizational communication, workplace culture, and igniting passion to power an organization.
Written by Professor Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School, and Michael Slind of Fast Company editorial fame, the book features stories and case studies gathered through interviews with hundreds of practioners, communication experts, employees, and company executives. The book includes company case studies, tips, and practioners on the leading edge. It covers how these new practices work, and what they have done for the business. In short, it makes the case, and inspires the reader. It shows how easy it can be for any company to upgrade their approach to organizational communication, and start the journey to increasing the returns they get in the marketplace from a workforce who is "in it to win it" just as much as you are.
What I love about this Book
- It has practices that could help organizations, regardless of where they are on the journey from old-school to cutting-edge.
- It answers the "so what" question and makes the subject relevant to the C-suite -- as Harvard Business School does best.
- It furthers the conversation on this subject, thereby helping to improve the work lives of employees, and the brand power of companies globally.
The book updates the phrase "organizational communication" to "organizational conversation." That means everything that impacts the flow information across and around the company. A conversation is a two-way exchange. Just like a good handshake -- it needs to be equally weighted. This basic premise of a two-way exchange is the key to the new era of powering organizations from within. (In my writing, I've discussed this as moving from the "command and control model" toward one that is more "collaborative and connected.")
To shed more light on the concept of "organizational conversation," the book is identifies 4 elements that make this happen well.
The concept of feeling in "close proximity," regardless of geographic or hierarchical location. A closeness of spirit.
This is where talking "with," rather than talking "at" is the norm.
This means full-fledged participation -- think "employee generated content." Social media is a great lever.
Here, we make the C-suite connection. This isn't about candy and balloons to make people feel good, it is about business strategy and furthering the goals of the company. This section shows how to make sure the threads align with the marketplace and desired business results.
The book brings each of these points to life via four major case studies -- Hindustan Petroleum Corp. (Intimacy), Cisco Systems (Interactivity),EMC (Inclusion), and Kingfisher PLC (Intentionality). Each section is followed by a TIPS chapter, helping state the business case and practical elements of deployment.
Care to hear from one of the authors of the book? Here is a radio interview with Michael Slind and me on Voice America.
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I'd love to hear your reaction to the book. Please consider giving it a read, and giving it to your top executive in charge. I really do believe this conversation can help make "work" a better place for all.
-- Polly Pearson