Announcing my next book

I got the itch again and will be working on my next book over the next few months. The book is being published by Jossey-Bass and will come out in May 2010.

I’ve included a description, some working titles, and chapter outline with the hope that you will share 1) what issues I’m addressing resonate with you; 2) sources and case studies that you think should be in the book.

My biggest need right now is to figure out the title — the publishing world’s schedule requires that I have a title submitted by the end of this week (I know, it’s crazy, but that’s the way it works!). So I would appreciate it if you would take a minute and respond either via comments which title(s) you like the best.

Description of the book

Talk with your customers. Listen to your employees. These are long-time, well tested truisms of business. But ask a businessperson to engage with people on Facebook or Twitter, or create a forum where employees can connect, and a look of sheer terror crosses his face. Rather than jump at the opportunity to interact, engage, and dialog with customers and employees, s/he runs in the opposite direction.

Why, in the midst of the largest seismic technological and sociological shift our generation, are organizations so hesitant to engage? Companies push back – how open, how transparent, how authentic, and how real do they need to be? The problem is that they are asking only half the question — it’s not just a matter of how open they should be, but also, how comfortable they are giving up control. The new reality is that customers, partners, and employees are demanding that they be given a role in the process and forcing organizations to give up control – or more specifically, the semblance of control.

In this tempest, command-and-control leadership and traditional hierarchical structures are too brittle to deal with fast-moving changes. But there is also a very real limit to how much control a business, organization, or association can give up.  This is more than simply being open, authentic, and transparent. It’s a considered and rigorous approach to leadership, strategy, and management that can be studied, emulated, developed, and most importantly, measured.

This book posits that it is essential that the modern organization and the people who run them feel comfortable working in a world where they are not in control — but are able to command and get things done with the very technologies that caused them to give up that sense of control in the first place. The book will lay out a process of how companies can bring their employees, partners, and customers into the process of running the organization, giving them control – and thriving in the process.

Questions The Book Will Address

  • What are the benefits of open leadership and open organizations?
  • How do you define and measure openness within an organization?
  • What are the characteristics of open leaders? How can they be measured?·
  • What tools and technologies are enabling open organizations to thrive?
  • How can open leaders be identified and developed?
  • How do open leaders and open organizations deal with risk?
  • What will the future of leadership and organization look like?

Working Titles

You can see the titles I’m considering below. I would love to hear your feedback on what reasonates, as well as othere options I should be considering.

  • Open Leadership: How to Give Up Control But Remain in Command
  • Letting Go: How Leaders Give Up Control But Remain in Command
  • Open Leadership: Why Leaders Who Give Up Control Can Retain Command
  • Letting Go: Why Leaders Must Give Up Control To Retain Their Authority
  • Leading Without Controlling: The Case For Open Leadership
  • Lead Without Limits: Why Leaders Must Give Up Control to Retain Their Authority
  • Open Now: How To Give Up Control But Still Be In Command
  • Open Now: The Upside Of Giving Up Control


This is a draft outline and is subject to change. I’ve included here with the hope that people will help challenge and improve the ideas, and also provide examples that would be relevant for each chapter.

Part 1: The Upside Of Giving Up Control

Chapter 1: The Challenge Of Social Technologies

Companies are intrigued and excited about the opportunities opened by social technologies. But despite best laid plans, they didn’t have the right organization, cultural and leadership to engage the Groundswell. This is the inevitable democratization of leadership, and it’s not optional. Leadership is about building relationships, and you can’t “control” relationships. Just ask your spouse! What’s required is a new approach to building business relationships, one that is founded on trust but also structured with just enough rules so that things can get done.

Chapter 2: What Giving Up Control Can Do for You

There are five benefits to organizations can realize from being more open: 1) scale to engage with customers and employees; 2) scale to lower costs; 3) speed to market; 4) dealing with complexity; and 5) increasing commitment and loyalty. Each of these can be measured and weighed using existing metrics within an organization.

Chapter 3: What Drives Openness (or Not)

The fundamental question is now how open to be? Three factors determine this: 1) your goals and the benefits you receive from being open; 2) the need of your audience (employees, customers, partners) for you to be open; and 3) the competitive context.

Part 2: The Open Leader

Chapter 4: What an Open Leader Looks Like

Open Leadership is the way a person approaches relationships. It’s a mindset, not the title. Open leadership is something that you may be naturally inclined towards, but it is more importantly something that you decide to do. There are archetypes of leadership, ranging from the Fearful Skeptic to the Realist Optimist. The skills of these open leaders are those of traditional leaders — empathy, humility, inspiring trust. But add to that a new list of skills needed in the newly social world – collaboration, agility, and most importantly, adopting to the culture of sharing to build that trust.

Chapter 5: Create and Apply a Sandbox Covenant

When leaders open up and give up control, they also need to know that things are getting done. The Sandbox Covenant is the process by which the open leader defines how big the “sandbox”, and then in concert with employees, customers, and partners, defines the walls of that sandbox clearly. Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it’s defined by how you will interact and engage with your employees, customers, and partners.

Chapter 6: Finding And Nurturing Your Open Leaders

A key trait of open leadership is that you develop other open leaders. You may find them in unexpected places, and sometimes you will need to go outside of your organization to find them. These “revolutionaries” will need special development as your organization will not be accommodating of them.

Chapter 7:   How to Deal with Risk and Failure

A key part will be how you as a leader deal with the inevitable mistakes and failures people will make. Like any relationship, the mettle of leadership is tested through crisis, even the small, every day ones. The Sandbox Covenant also supports ongoing open leadership, so that it is ingrained into the organization.

Part 3: The Open Organizations

Chapter 8: Redefining the Customer Relationships

How will your relationships with customers change with open leadership? You will not only get closer to them, but the walls of your organization will begin to fade.

Chapter 9: Redefining Employee Relationships

How will you work with newly empowered employees? Everything from how you handle benefits and career planning to how and when you include employees in strategic planning and product development will change.

Chapter 10: Redefining Partner Relationships

Your partners, resellers, and shareholders will require that you be more open about how you work — primarily because they need the information to be better partners.

Chapter 11: The Lifecycle And Future Of Open Organizations

As we’ve seen, just as openness is not an absolute, how open you will be will also change as your goals and circumstances change. New technologies will always be appearing, changing the balance of power, but your open organization needs to have the resilience to adapt quickly. The organization of the future will look and function very different from today’s hierarchical structures — that’s because they will be built for the organic, open way that people work and get things done.

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  1. Letting Go:
    Why Only Businesses That Give Up Control Gain Influence

    Stop Trying to Control:
    How Conversations With Customers Keeps You Ahead of the Competition

  2. Charlene,

    This is big news! There’s my 2 cents.

    Open 2.0: The Upside Of Leading Without Controlling.

  3. Charlene, this is wonderful news. As you know, I greatly admire your perspective and vision.

    As I just mentioned on Frank Eliason’s blog, It’s this acceptance and subsequent relinquishment of (the illusion of) control will help businesses realize they actually possess the ability to shape and steer impressions and perceptions.

    It starts with simply embracing the reality that people have opinions and they will share them willfully across the social web and in real life – with or without brand guidance or participation.

    By listening, observing, and soaking it in, we can not only solve problems, engender communities, and empower advocacy, but also identify the opportunities to spark change from within.

    Can’t wait to read it Charlene!

  4. Charlene:

    Your topic is timely and very important. Your emphasis on cultural shifts that are defined by the leaders willingness to trust their employees and their customers to engage with the brand shows how important it is for leaders to embrace a more open and public structure.

    It would be nice to see a section on how a leader can move their employees along with them. Employees don’t become empowered overnight and there is often resistance to change within the organization as a whole (not just from the leader). Creating a culture of openness takes time.

    As an educator, books like these (I use Groundswell in one of my classes) help me to show students just how much is changing in the business world.

    I wish you luck on this project.

    As to the titles? I like the emphasis on “Open Leadership” as the first part of the title. It seems from your outline that this book is about how one can become an open leader and why that is an imperative for business success. What I’m not seeing in the second part of the title is the call for why this is an imperative. There is a lot of focus on giving up control, but staying strong. (I understand why that part would appeal given the reluctance of many leaders to sacrifice control which makes them think that they will no longer have power.) However, if it is possible to include in the title WHY they should do this it might be helpful.

    For example: Becoming an Open Leader: Building Success by Giving Up Control

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing the end result!

  5. When I’ve worked with leaders they have resisted open styles and “letting go”. When I asked “why?” they said it felt like to let go would slow things down.

    From that observation I began to teach how you can speed things up by slowing things down.

    It worked.

    I think a title or subtitle that hinted at this notion might be attractive.

    Maybe this:

    Letting Go: How to speed things up by slowing things down.

    Just an idea.

    Keep creating…a story worth repeating,

  6. Open Now: The New Leaders of Open Organizations

  7. Letting Go: Why Leaders Must Give Up Control To Retain Their Authority
    I prefer this title given the audience that needs this book – Managers who have to accept the premise that this is the new model. This isn’t an alternative method, it’s a live or die requirement as the paradigm has shifted and it goes against the grain of their past learnings.

  8. Sounds like a great topic Charlene…I’m especially looking forward to the chapters on leadership in the age of open/social.

  9. Baat Enosh says:

    Hi Charlene,

    I love the idea of the book.

    We do see how control is now being shifted and spread (maybe rather than given up?) across organizations, rather than just staying with-in the hands of a few.

    So I think it is not as much about giving up control, but rather as building trust so that those who have control (i.e., with the online voice) use it wisely and hopefully to the benefit of their employer.

    So the real name of the game is openness and trust. How do you, as an employer, build trust and respect so that your employees think twice before posting something that can harm you?

    Openness and transparency in organizations are not new ideas, but now they are put to the test with all the available online tools and the voice of the masses.

    It sounds like the book is going to discuss the new type of leader – open, transparent, communicative, and a trust-builder.

    I therefore vote for this title -

    “Leading Without Controlling: The Case For Open Leadership”

    Good luck with the book..

  10. Sounds very interesting. Will be another good read. Maybe a combo of #2 and #3. “Letting Go: How Leaders Who Give Up Control Can Retain Command”

  11. LETTING GO: The new era of leading by listening.

  12. From the ones you have, I liked

    Open Now: The Upside Of Giving Up Control

    But none of them sound as catchy as your last book. Perhaps something like “Lose Control, Gain Command” or “Open Org” …

  13. Congratulations Charlene, we courted Jossey-Bass a few years ago. At that time the proposal we submitted did not meet their needs.

    Your book description reminded us of our associate Dr. Rae’s book-in-progress
    ‘What Makes Your Heart Sing’ found here

    Your review is most welcome as is collaborating with you on sections that resonate with you and your book.

    We strongly believe in the timeliness of your book as we believe in the timeliness of Dr. Rae’s book.

    Only the best to you…

  14. Congrats on the new book!!!

    Still sad that we haven’t had a chance to chat since we met at Poynter. But I’m rooting for you all the way! I know the book will be great.

  15. Christina Lee says:

    this is exciting news! can’t wait for this next book!

    i would go with : Open Leadership: Why Leaders Who Give Up Control Can Retain Command… i like open leadership as a first phrase for the positive, empowering spin it gives and what i think your book will be for people that read it!

  16. Jeff Yoak says:

    I would shy away from any of the titles that push “command.” I think I understand and agree with where you’re trying to go with that, but I think the term is negatively loaded in the current environment.

    I like the “Letting Go:” lead to the title. I’d avoid any of the subtitles that suggest that it appears to be a liability. Focus on what is actually improved. Maybe something like, “Letting Go: Enhanced Leadership Through Giving Up Control” or something like that. Taking directly from the prospects you mentioned, I’d probably like this best: “Letting Go: The Case For Open Leadership”.

    Chapter 1′s title would turn me off. I’m inundated by streams that inform me that social technology is a problem or challenge. If what you have to offer me is a clever ability to overcome this problem, I’m probably not going to buy the book. I don’t think that’s what you are going to write, but if I’m standing at Borders and crack the book and see that chapter heading, I may not go further. “The opportunity of social technology” sounds more like what you mean, and would bring me in further rather than pushing me away.

    Durn. There is so much I’d like to say, but I’m off to a lunch meeting. I’ll try to remember to come back. This is an idea I believe in and would like to help in any way I can. You have my email address now, and I’m @yoak on twitter. Feel free to reach out, and I’ll try to remember to come back later for more.

  17. I think you have to think about the first part of the title on it’s own. Someone said none of these is as catchy as Groundswell, and they have point, esp if you just think of it as “Letting Go” “Open Now” or “Open Leadership”. After all, I’m not going to say to a friend, “have you read … ” and use the whole title and subtitle.
    With that in mind I’d go with “Letting Go” as my favorite that you’ve listed .. might also consider “Give Up!” or “Hands Off” or “Relinquish” or “Surrender” or something else a better thesaurus might discover for you … Just trying to picture it on the spine on my bedside table helps.
    Good luck, I think getting input on this is a great idea!!

  18. The Carrot, the Stick & the Leader: Gaining Authority By Giving Up Control

  19. How about “Lose Your Grip: Holding on to customers by learning to let go”

  20. Step Aside: Give up Control to Stay in Command

    While community engagement is less a part of my current gig, the topics you address sound very familiar to what is required for leadership to have a successful agile development approach and I look forward to more depth in those parallels.

    Whether User Experience or Agile, I’ve been involved in helping many companies change their culture. It’s hard and no matter how enthusiastic people say they are, they have to fight their own habits and the cultural weight of the institution (even if that institution is a new startup!) I’d love to see some content about how to effect change and deal with that resistance.

  21. Leading Without Controlling: The Case For Open Leadership – is the best and most eye catching.

    “How to Build an Environment Assuming Failures will Happen.” Assuming things will go bad and having everyone ready for it is key. In an open environment, failure and mistakes will be open and being able to deal with it and move forward is key.

    Best of luck

  22. Karin Nauth Shelley says:

    Fascinating subject, Charlene. Can’t wait for the book.

    Have you thought of examining leadership within India-based global IT firms? My contention is that societal culture underpins how those firms lead. However, several of those firms have much less rigid controls and more empowering leadership models. It would be interesting to look at the leadership balance those firms strike between societal culture vs. the cultivated corporate culture.

  23. Looking forward to your new book.
    Suggested title:

    The New Leadership
    Win by controlling less.

  24. Charlene,

    Very timely topic. Look forward to reading your new book!
    As to the title, I’d build on your first one:

    Open Leadership: Give Up Control and Remain in Command


    KC Chan-Herur
    Twitter: @kcInnovation

  25. Upside of Giving Up Control is a great title. I love the premise of your book and it is needed and will be widely read and discussed like Groundswell (which I recommended to a large group (as i often do) today.

    My suggestion is to talk about great bosses and what makes them great. They are often unafraid and want to learn from their team. They lead but know how to follow. I am a boss shopper, i look for a person i can learn from and respect.
    Sandbox rocks, i suggest sustaining creativity in an organization and how the ‘food’ of social media feeds it.

    I am most intrigued by how free will fit, how customer relationships will change (co-development will be common, product ratings will rock everyone and everything, new levels of customer service will turn this part of your business upside down.

    collaboration between entities will be very common (think co-opetiion) but entirely different than imagined several years ago.
    mentoring will change substantially, people will work in jobs for short periods of time but work collaboratively…
    oh, you have such an exciting project. Hope I added some value here. best to you, Deborah

  26. I’m excited about this book because I feel like its no needed and the timing couldn’t be better.

  27. scott crawford says:

    Looking forward to it. Sounds like a timely update to principles of Servant-Leadership.

  28. Fred Sampson says:

    This is a great topic, Charlene, and judging by the impact of “Groundswell” I’m sure you’ll do it justice.

    I’m sure you already know Linda Sanford’s “Let Go to Grow,” which has numerous examples of how opening up to partners produces greater value. I can point all the way back to “Cluetrain Manifesto” in 2000 for ideas on letting go of control.

    It’s a concept near to my heart as a Zen practitioner, too. But don’t you dare put Zen in the title! And how many times have I heard “the more you give away, the more comes back to you”? I still have the title of an article ripped from a magazine years ago: “Relinquish control, gain strength.”

    Can’t wait to see the finished book!

  29. Hi Charlene,

    Great book theme, I like the premise and what you are trying to convey. As for name, a quick thought, more after a good nights sleep;

    All for One, One for All: Thriving in Control Neutral Business Environment

  30. Ed Elliott says:


    I like the combination of two of your lead titles:

    Letting Go: Leading Without Controlling

    I look forward to your commentary and analysis on what is already around us – but not well recognized nor understood. Many top managers are either threatened or confused by the rapidly changing paradigm.

    I work in a sector (film/video post-production) where our clients are highly intelligent and want/insist on “taking control”. Often in the past this leads to a ‘tug of wills’ that is less than productive.

    Here are some thoughts/questions to add to your topic lists:

    How does openness and transparency mesh in a functional way with the needs for intellectual property protection? trade secrets? Often it is the way we do things that lead to competitive advantage – how does one balance “sharing?”

    What methodology can be employed to really ingrain loyalty from employees? In the sense of the well-known equation: great freedom = great responsibility. Employees that really value (and feel a partnership with) a company are less likely to post stupid comments on social sites that represent the company – there is a sense of shared pride, shared responsibility.

    How does one measure and report on the progress of “openness?” If a company “Lets Go” and makes changes, is there even a somewhat objective measurement where the paradigm shift (as opposed to other market factors) can be isolated and described?

    I look forward to this, and appreciate the opportunity to comment.

    • Bill Zivic says:

      Re: Ed’s interest in IP issues:

      ‘How does openness and transparency mesh in a functional way with the needs for intellectual property protection? trade secrets? Often it is the way we do things that lead to competitive advantage – how does one balance “sharing?”‘

      I’d like to see this topic addressed, as I’m participating in a legal issue between a small company that operated under a NDA (traditional legal sharing process) with a large multinational company. The large company filed numerous patents based upon technology that had been protected by trade secret by the small company, and the dispute is now being adjudicated…

  31. This sounds great – very appropriate for the times we’re in when everyone needs to take a step back and think about these issues for the long term good of their organisations.

  32. GREAT Charlene…

    Hard work, and sure it will be a great success

    My suggestion:

    Open Leadership: How to Give Up Control But Remain in Command

    CONGRATS from Spain

  33. Ben North says:

    Variations on a theme…

    Lead From The Back: Surrender Control to Maintain Command

    Lead From The Back: Relinquish Control to Retain Command

  34. First of all I like that you’re sharing the outline like this – it sounds like a good read to, some good ideas in there.

    As for titles, I like Letting Go – it tends to be fear and a need for control that holds people back from doing so.

  35. Charlene,

    Congrats on deciding to pursue a second book. Outline sounds great and I look forward to reading it. For a title, I’d suggest some variation on “Letting Go:” as others have suggested here. Of your choices, this one resonated the most for me:

    Letting Go: Why Leaders Must Give Up Control To Retain Their Authority

    Best wishes with the writing!

  36. I love naming things.

    Leading Without Fear

    How Open Management Will Transform The Business World

  37. Hi Charlene,

    Exciting ideas. Your open leader concept and especially Chapter 6 about finding and nurturing more of them reminded me of the Nant’an “non-chiefs” of the Apaches discussed in The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom.

    The authors explain how new Nant’ans were constantly emerging, quoting anthropologist Tom Nevins: “People would support who they thought was the most effective leader based on his own actions or based on his behaviors.”

    Nant’ans had no control over others, but plenty of influence or authority within the organiztion (tribe), because their actions and ideas drew support.

    For the title, I like a cross between your third and fourth options:

    Open Leadership: Why Leaders Must Give Up Control To Retain Their Authority

    While I also like the concept behind “Letting Go,” I don’t think by itself as the main title it connects to your business and leadership themes without some explanation – could call to mind parenting, or divorce issues for many.

    I also like how you open by connecting this one to the ideas from Groundswell that seem to both inspire and paralyze so many business leaders.

    Do we really have to wait almost a year?


  38. Congratulations on the new book – VERY exciting – and I love the premise. I am a huge fan for lots of open, honest, transparent and courageous communications from a leader – using every channel available to them – to all stake holders — and in today’s age that absolutely demands social networking and new technologies. Your promise that the book will “lay out a process of how companies can bring their employees, partners, and customers into the process of running the organization, giving them control – and thriving in the process” is 100% on target. Too many mangers today… and even leaders… still believe in a mechanistic analogy for running a business – the planned, clock-work, synchronized world of Fredrick Taylor and Henry Ford or the command-and-control style of the WWII veterans who came home to start a business and run it like they learned how to in the military. These styles are no longer effective or relevant – control like this in a business is a myth… a pure fantasy. Oh, you can control machines like that… but not people. Today’s “knowledge-worker” demands a culture of honesty, transparency, respect and meaning. You can no longer just hire a “set of hands” now you need the head too – you need the expertise, motivation, drive, commitment and passion that true “talent” brings to the party. The crux, as you have so aptly pointed out, is that “Talent” cannot be “controlled” – they need to be trusted and instilled with an ownership mentality – then set free to serve the customer and build strong partner relationships. Attempting to control this process simply stifles it and ruins it. I am really looking forward to reading your new book – and my vote for the title goes to: Open Leadership: How to Give Up Control But Remain in Command

    Charlene – I wish you every possible success with your new book.

    • Found this article %BLOGTITLE% appearing in Live search. Nice put. Thanks :) says:

      Found out your article Announcing my next book Altimeter Group : Research Based Advisory for Disruptive Technologies appearing in Google. Nice blog. Thanks a bunch :)

  39. Lorne Armstrong says:


    Here are a couple thoughts:

    Control: You never had it so why are you hanging on so tight?

    The courage to be open and loosen your grip.


  40. buddy teaster says:

    Open for Business: how command and control is now listening and leadership.

    i think this is an important topic and thought so from the time you discussed it at a starbucks w/ me. scott cook from intuit, and an HBS alum, has written some great stuff on this topic. lots of other YPO folks as well. best of luck!

  41. Based on all of your own suggested titles, I was thinking: “How to Lead By Giving Up Control While Remaining in Command” But that doesn’t give you the kind of title structure you’re looking for, so how about: Open Leadership: How To Stay In Command By Giving Up Control

  42. Charlene,

    Thanks for sharing. I like where your book and thinking are going. Here are some thoughts to consider:

    “Open for 21st Century Business.”
    “Seriously, We’re Open for Business”

  43. I like either Open Leadership or Open Now with How To Give Up Control But Still Be In Command. It has the call to action but better maintains that even though you are opening up you aren’t necessarily giving up the reigns.
    As for case studies, it would be interesting to study the impact on loyalty UGC fan sites have. I know that HBO, Fox, and Showtime run their official fansites through Wetpaint, effectively allowing their fans to have a lot of say in their online face and presence. That has to be powerful in creating customers who feel invested in a brand, feel part of the “tribe” (as Seth Godin would add), and are proud of it.

  44. Hi Charlene

    You might consider this title:
    Transparent Leadership: How to manage while the World watches you

  45. Dear Charlene,

    with this book you definitely address one of the key issues, companies – and especially their managers themselfes – struggle with most when it comes to a strategy how to act on the empowered customer ’caused’ and enabled by social technologies. Insecurity and fear of the management are the main factors that prevent a faster exploitation of the new business opportunities this trend opens up.

    As one of the very first strategic consultants for Marketing 2.0 (ranging from marketing concepts over executive coaching to organizational development) in Germany we encounter this issue every day. And as Germans are not known to be very risk-loving we face quite a challenge.

    By experience I can underscore that the mindset is key. And as you further want to explain in your book how this mindset can develop an organization your book promises to become an valuable support for our business. So we are looking forward to your book (that will be hopefully as outstanding as groundswell).

    Our proposal for the title: ‘Open Leadership: Why Leaders Who Give Up Control will be the ones who can Retain Command’.

    Best Wishes from Germany


  46. Your book sounds like another winner, Charlene! Congratulations on your new project.

    My favorite of your proposed titles: “Leading Without Controlling: The Case For Open Leadership.”

    The “giving up control” pieces of the other titles makes me think actual C-suite execs wouldn’t read it — but rather just their reports would…

    Something else to consider might be “Leadership 3.0: How to innovate by opening up” or a riff thereof.

  47. The world needs more books from you. As for the title – “OPEN” and then add a tagline after the book is done. It’s beauty lies in the simplicity of it and how it encapsulates so much more than meets the eye.

  48. Can’t wait to read this book! I have had three of my books including Networlding, my 7th book, that I named my company after (#10 on Amazon for a year in Chicago), published by Jossey Bass. They are a great publisher!

    Love the idea of “open organizations.” My model for building trusted relationships for transformational opportunities is all about being open. It’s the glass is not just half full . . . but, rather . . . it’s overflowing! Congrats!

  49. Charlene – sounds like a fascinating (and needed) book. In my travels, I hear the “risk” thing as a big issue so your chapter 7 should be popular with C-level readers.

    Good luck with it.

  50. Looks like an amazing book – certainly something I want to add to my shelf.

    You might consider talking to Anil at the Framework foundation, he’s working on some conceptual stuff you might be really interested in.

  51. I like “Lead Without Limits”.

  52. What about “Open Source: The Case for Open Ladership”

    A play on open source development/technology/apps

  53. Charlene, can’t for for the new book! I like Open Now: The Upside Of Giving Up Control.

  54. I’ve had clients who were obsessed with being in control. Asking them to give it up is a tall order, if not an impossible one. Times where I redefined the meaning of control and changed the venue in which they exercised it often proved more effective. Just a thought!

  55. Great seeing you at ASAE in Toronto. How about “Out of Control: Open Leadership driven by social technologies” or something like that. I also like “Letting Go.”

  56. Charlene,

    Great concepts. I suggest short & sweet

    Open Leadership: The Upside of Letting Go!

    Good Luck

  57. Joseph Ng says:

    Giving up control IS the issue here, as Leo said. Hewlett-Packard was “open” at the height of its power in the 90s. Confidence and technology differentiation afford openness. On a personal level, “smarts” is needed for openness. There is also a cultural angle here. We discuss openness, and giving up control in America. In China where I work now, CEOs are supposed to be imperial and all controlling.

  58. Edward Oliver says:

    In my experience it is not the fear of losing control that makes executives fearful of democratic engagement. It’s a question of “where can I find the time and the resources to sustain a worthwhile dialogue with an unknown number of people, and still complete the existing tasks that come with my role”. Increasingly, we are overburdened with activities and tasks, response times are contracted, the quality of the responses declines, and we create the optimum intellectual environment for the kind of crisis currently facing the major economies. Where to find the time to undertake the existing and the new, and the time to THINK and to CONSIDER . . . that’s a map worth drawing!

  59. Roberto Carrillo A. says:

    Congratulations! Its and exciting subject. The risk for all kind of companies and organzations is that once you open up you have to LISTEN………AND today nobody wants to do that.. from Citi to Sony to AIG…to etc everyone is listening to themselves…Good luck and keep us posted. Roberto

  60. I look forward to seeing the final work, I am intrigued with several of your chapters as outlined. After 25 years with a single company (admittedly unusual today) that is in the midst of a major upheaval and restructuring of our industry (automotive), I am drawn to your insight as it relates to typical corporate hierarchical structures given the forces AND SPEED of emerging technologies.

    I am also VERY interested in your perspective on how we might execute a flatter organization (closer to our customers) and still find, retain, reward and grow employees without removing them further from the consumer. The power of social media may provide us just the catalyst we need. I will follow your progress. Good Luck.

  61. This is great work. One note on your description of Open Leader (humility, empathy). You might consider thinking of these as “behaviors” and not skills. “Skills” tend to describe things in our toolkits that we may or may not use. By contrast, behaviors don’t require formal training and are simply how we actually act in our daily lives. I love that by reading your book, one can start to BE an Open Leader simply by ACTING like one – and I notice you are modeling how, via this blog and your Open House.

    Along those lines, your book can help us think about both how OFTEN we practice these behaviors, as well as how IMPACTFUL we are with those behaviors (on our team? company? industry?), and the kinds of results we should be looking for. As a recruiter, when I do reference checks, I assess on a 360’ basis the ‘frequency’ and ‘impact’ of the desired behaviors in our candidate.

    You might also consider what pivotal talent a leader will need on her team to effect the culture change you’re looking for. While the open culture you’re describing should impact everyone, the process of driving that change will require strong performance of a few game-changing employees. Substantial execution risk will lie in the hands of these individuals. I just blogged on how to identify those people, at

    Your book looks very exciting indeed. Do keep us posted on its progress, and give a shout if we can help further.

  62. How to lead when the customer is in control

  63. Sounds great and really looking forward to reading it. I believe that you have captured the zeitgeist of what a lot of organizations are looking to understand (and thankfully…not that it is a bad thing at all but part of the leadership confusion and past its best before date…I don’t see Web 2.0 anywhere).

    In my quick look one thing that I did not see was how one would measure the open organization. Perhaps that is inherent in particular chapters but I think you may want to reflect on having that as a stand alone piece…the measurements all flow to the bottom line but, obviously, much differently than in a “traditional” business context.

    My title suggestion is a little more off the beaten path (and perhaps too late for consideration). The title is a little more provocative and the subtitle speaks to the fact that this valuable, inevitable change will/is occurring with all of a leaders stakeholders (as your chapters suggest) not just employees.

    Running Naked: Unleashing the full value of your business community by Opening up

    Really looking forward to the read!

  64. Charlene, what did you decide? Enquiring minds want to know!!

  65. Letting go: Steering without full control.

  66. Virgil Gass says:

    Here’s my suggestion.
    The New Open Leader – A lighter Grip Empowers Employees and Customers

  67. Fran Johns says:

    Sounds like an enlightening book. How about -

    Open Leadership: Give up Control to Stay in Command

    Open Leadership: How to Stay in Command by Giving up Control

    Open Leadership: Command, Not Control

  68. I am presently writing a book for Pearson on Social Media Monetization from a marketing perspective. I’d be interested in hearing more on your perspectives and seeing where I could potentially include you in the book as a quoted source. Would you be interested in connecting?

  69. Hi Charlene: Fascinating project and no doubt will be fun and interesting. There are plenty of great title suggestions below so I will focus on some other things I would love to see in this book. I hope and assume you will have lots of great examples of what leading practitioners are doing as they try to become more open (what approaches, tools and technologies have they used). And I encourage you to not just describe successes but also what some organizations have tried and failed with (even if you then might not want to identify the organization).

    I would love to hear what different organizations in Silicon Valley are doing in terms of embracing an open leadership model, not just at the very top but among 2nd and 3rd tiers of leadership. I am sure it varies quite a bit. Sun is of course known for doing a LOT of different things with social media, both internally and for engaging customers and other constituencies. Similarly with Cisco, although it does not have Sun’s focus on open source. Open source might be an interesting topic to examine as it seems like an extreme means of openness and tapping external resources. In view of what Sun has done on this front and with its extensive and intensive use of social media in various ways, it is interesting to then see how the company has failed in the market and is now being acquired by Oracle. Too bad.

    I also liked Karin Nauth’s suggestion that you examine some of the Indian IT companies as many of them–Infosys, in particular–have a very progressive management model where top leaders are very open and involved in training lower level leaders. But I don’t know to what extent they use many of the emerging social media technologies.

    I would also recommend that you examine some of the leading Scandinavian companies, as the Scandinavian leadership model is one of flat organizations, empowering employees and open management. But again, I am not sure how far they have come in terms of using social media as tools for engaging various constituencies along the value chain. If you want to do something on this last front, I may be able to be of help so don’t hesitate to get in touch. I know Kenny Lauer well.

    Good luck in what should be a great project.

  70. Martha Osborn says:

    Open Leadership: Why Leaders Who Give Up Control Can Retain Command … is my vote. It is a positive statement showing benefit.

    I loved Groundswell!

  71. Bill Zivic says:


    I enjoy your openmindedness, and I’m looking forward to your new book. Suggested title (a combination of your suggestions):

    • Lead Without Limits: The Case For Open Leadership

  72. Rich Carvill says:

    Leaders In Touch : How to Give Up Control But Remain in Command

  73. Charlene:

    As always, you are amazing :)

    I’m a little late in hearing about this book–but I was trying to explain the concept of open management to my mom last week.

    It’s the way I manage my team at my startup. In my mom’s eyes, open management felt totally abstract and misguided. It will be interesting to see how your book lays out these ideas. Can’t wait to see it!

    Lead Without Walls: Why Leaders Must Give Up Control to Retain Their Authority

    Chris Lynn


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