Archive for the 'Review' Category

The Linked World – Network Models, Qualities, and Applications

I have recently finished reading Linked, a great book by Albert-László Barabási about the network theory and its applications (see my review here). I recommend checking out this book to everyone, as a teaser I’d like to share with you some insights I gained about the networks, and specifically the network models, qualities and applications. Continue reading ‘The Linked World – Network Models, Qualities, and Applications’

Seth Godin’s Approach to Leadership

I have recently read and reviewed Seth Godin’s Tribes, and I thought it would be worth sharing some of his insights on leadership.

  • Tribes. According to Seth, tribes are groups of people that share a common interest and have a way to communicate. While most of the leaders leverage the tribe so that it can grow and gain new members, effective leaders transform the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change, and provide tools to improve the communication between tribe members and the leader.
  • Movements. Seth quotes Bill Bradley’s definition of a movement that contains three elements: a narrative that tells a story about the group and the future it’s trying to build; a connection between and among the leader and the tribe; and something to do. Only focusing on something to do is not enough.
  • Tightness. A leader can improve her tribe on two dimensions – its size and its tightness. While most leaders focus on size, sometimes a smaller but tighter tribe works better. There can be many strategies for tightening a tribe, like creating rituals, introducing people to one another, and providing a communications platform for tribe members.
  • Motivation. You can’t become an effective leader when you focus on your benefits. Great leaders focus on the followers and get their compensation from watching the tribe thrive.
  • Creating a Micromovement. Seth shares a step-by-step approach of creating an online micromovement:
  1. Publish a manifesto
  2. Allow followers to contact you
  3. Allow followers to contact one another
  4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement
  5. Track progress
  • Elements of Leadership. Challenge the status quo. Create a culture around your goal and involve others in that culture. Be curious. Use charisma. Communicate your vision of the future. Commit to a vision and make decision based on that commitment. Connect your followers to one another.
  • Positive Deviants. This is the best story I found in this book. Jerry Sternin decided to help starving Vietnamese children. He didn’t send any food to Vietnam though, he didn’t educate the local people either. Instead, he looked for families that were not starving, who learned to thrive in that environment. He told them how special they were, and asked to share their insights and methods with the wider community. These families were positive deviants. Such people are the key to success of any tribe or organization, as they bring a change for better, they challenge and improve the status quo.

If you follow this blog and are interested in the topic, I really recommend you read Tribes, or listen to the free (thanks Seth!) audio version.

Creating a World Without Poverty

I’ve just finished reading the book from Muhammad Yunus – the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner. It is an inspiring book that can touch your heart and motivate you to fight against poverty. At the same time, it did not quite match my expectations in terms of content, so I’d like to make clear in this review what you should and should not expect from this great book.

First of all, Muhammad Yunus presents his vision of the social business. It is a powerful idea based on challenging the assumption of one-dimensional human beings that aim at maximizing profit. This concept lies at the core of established economic theories, and supports the current notion of the business that should maximize value for its shareholders. The social business is totally dedicated to solving social or environmental problems. It is different from charities or NGO’s as it does not generate losses, and it’s different from profit-maximizing businesses as it does not pay dividend. Continue reading ‘Creating a World Without Poverty’

Challenges for Open Business Models

Another article from The McKinsey Quarterly (see previous post) provides very useful insights on the process and challenges of open innovation. Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and Brad Johnson provide several examples of organizations following an approach which they call distributed cocreation, characterized by multiple parties collaborating to jointly create new products or services.
Continue reading ‘Challenges for Open Business Models’

Review: The Starfish and the Spider

Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom are entrepreneurs. In The Starfish and the Spider they express their fascination of decentralized organizations, and their impact on the business world. Based on numerous examples, ranging from Alcoholics Anonymous to Skype and Wikipedia, they present to us a model of decentralized organization and the new business rules it implies.

A decentralized organization, compared to Starfish, can be defined by several characteristics, such as:
Continue reading ‘Review: The Starfish and the Spider’

Review: Principle-Centered Leadership

I approached Stephen Covey’s Principle-Centered Leadership not long after having read his famous The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Given the very high benchmark, I was a bit disappointed by the chaotic structure and repeating content. However, the key insights of Dr. Covey’s teachings on leadership sum up to quite an interesting model of leadership within organizations.

The key notion of the book is that leadership, in the same way as life in general, should be governed by principles. Dr. Covey describes four levels of leadership and corresponding four key principles that should be followed by effective leaders and organizations. Continue reading ‘Review: Principle-Centered Leadership’

Leading through conversations

If you try to imagine the act of exercising leadership, you can think of an ancient king urging his horse, raising a sword and shouting to his army to follow him. Or, you can think of a great leader delivering a charismatic speech. These typical images do not, however, reflect the fact that leadership normally happens through conversations. This is the basis for a dialogic leadership model presented by William N. Isaacs. Continue reading ‘Leading through conversations’