Open Leadership – A Review

I just finished my advance copy of Charlene Li’s new book – Open Leadership. First of all … THANK YOU to Charlene (@CharleneLi) for sending me an early edition.

SNAGHTML104e92bWhat did I like about this book?

It was a practical handbook on what can be done, what has been done and what needs to be done. It describes Social Media as an element of Social Technology that can be harnessed to achieve a greater goal. That greater goal is to utilize Open Leadership to drive the individual and the organization.

Great Stories

What I really liked is that the book is interspersed with real world scenarios from Dell, Cisco, and even the US State Department. This kept the book engaging and will provide readers with the evidence they need to convince their colleagues and management that Social Media is viable and a key component of an Open Leadership model.

image Thanks to Charlene for including the Kodak story. One of the reasons I seriously looked at joining Kodak was (and still is) their commitment to Social Media. Even with the recently announced departure of the Kodak CMO, Jeffrey Hayzlett, I’m confident the work Kodak has done will continue to grow and thrive.


SNAGHTML5560f38Charlene used this term often and backed it up with great examples of people and companies that exhibited a lot of authenticity in their use of Social Media and Social Technologies.

I have written a fair amount about what I call Corporate Authenticity and was happy to see someone with a much wider audience than I have make similar claims and a call to action for wider recognition of authenticity across the board.

How should one think about Authenticity?

Authenticity, like credibility, is bestowed upon you. As Charlene said in the book … No one can go to the mirror and declare that they are authentic.

Your authenticity flows from what you are and what you do. This is a great takeaway from the book. Be authentic. Whether you think about it or not … People are watching.


Another key tenet of Open Leadership is the ability to be transparent. Not that it’s necessary to expose every single detail of every single decision or process. Although some businesses can benefit from this. It’s more about bringing “visibility” to the organization. As shown in the book there are many times where transparency was painful initially, but helped employees, customers, and partners understand more about the business goals and objectives. Often times the most vocal critics came around and became the most vocal advocates. Why? Because the business included them in the process. They exhibited transparency.


This is an overused term in business today, but it is at the core of the books message. Open Leadership is nothing without collaboration.

Another of the core take-aways is that collaboration will inevitably end up with a few failed efforts. Failure should not be relegated to back burner and forgotten. Not that SNAGHTML659a738failure is the goal – rather failure should be expected, planned for and somewhat rewarded. Rewarded in the sense that the person and team should be commended for taking a risk.

Everything was Not Perfect

In the book you will read about false starts and missed opportunities. Did everything work out in the end for everyone? No. There were changes made to adjust the plans, goals were tweaked and some projects were scrapped all together. That’s life and that’s business. One of the core tenets of following an Open Leadership model is that failures will happen … faster. Successes will also happen … faster.


For more information about Open Leadership check out Charlene’s web page -

The curled page effect is standard in
SnagIt 10.

If you also received an advance copy I’d like to hear your thoughts. If you didn’t I encourage you to add this book to your reading list. You will not be disappointed and you will read about several great examples of real world use of Social Media and Social Technologies to accomplish Open Leadership objectives.

Good Reading!

Link to Open Leadership - (affiliate link) – I’m not anywhere close to as prodigious or nearly as popular as Chris Brogan, but I did take a tip from Chris with regard to affiliate links. See my blog post here if you want to learn more. Or here for his thoughts.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 20 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I am currently with Kodak as a Director of Business Development. In my past I have spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and at Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Audrina Majella said…
I would love to take a tour reading that book. If it shows great stories and advices then much more i am willing to get the copy, it will definitely add up the branches on forming the idea about the business management consultants leadership traits I'm looking for.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the review - I'm glad you were able to put the advance reader copy to good use!
ayshwariya said…
I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

Leadership Training Dubai