Looking for a last minute perfect gift for someone who needs to manage technology, organizations, and people? How about a book that supports some of the key issues of T-O-P Management? Some of these books you can find in your local book store. I bet the rest are available as ebooks -- no shipping required! I prepared the following material as background for a book I'm doing -- Yes, you heard it here -- TOP Management: Driving Success with Today's Technology, Organizations, and People is in the proposal stage. The books below are complimentary in that they either highlight an organizational strategy that will benefit from TOP Management skills or they focus on a particular aspect required for TOP Management. Groundswell, Reality Check, Deep Smarts, and the already reviewed, The New How, highlight modern organizational strategies. I believe that managers and users will be more effective at implementing the discussed strategies to the extent that they have TOP Management skills. Change by Design, Emotional Intelligence, Grown Up Digital, Market Rebels (see prior comments on Market Rebels here), and Information Technology for Management each take on a particular dimension of TOP Management but do not try to explicitly work with technology, organization, and people simultaneously. Two books that do deal more explicitly with technology, organization, and people (Technology & Society and The Social Engagement of Social Science) are both focused on academic audiences. Happy shopping! (my comments regarding how these books relate to TOP Management are in italics - the rest of the information is pulled from Amazon. Links take you to the Google Books entry so you can see competitive pricing.) Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization's Toughest Challenges (Andrew McAfee). Hardcover: 240 pages. Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (November 16, 2009) From Amazon: "McAfee brings together case studies and examples with key concepts from economics, sociology, computer science, consumer psychology, and management studies and presents them all in a clear, accessible, and entertaining style. Enterprise 2.0 is a must-have resource for all C-suite executives seeking to make technology decisions that are simultaneously powerful, popular, and pragmatic." Where TOP Management is general, McAfee's presentation of Enterprise 2.0 is specific in that he addresses the strategic application of technology-enabled, often emergent, collaboration across customers and employees. While he understands the importance of working with all three at once, I do not see such an approach covered explicitly in his book. For example, in his Chapter 7, "Going Mainstream: A Road Map for Enterprise 2.0 Success," he presents organizational practices for implementing Enterprise 2.0. He also mentions technology dimensions in context with these practices and what we know of human perception. McAfee is practicing TOP Management, but doesn't explicitly describe the boundaries for organizational design and change in general. I see most of his book as opening up the strategic possibilities for Enterprise 2.0 and then Chapter 7 as applying TOP Management to the implementation -- but TOP Management in general is not his focus. Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools is required reading in my Organizational Analysis course. Enterprise 2.0 (Niall Cook). Hardcover: 180 pages. Publisher: Ashgate; illustrated edition edition (July 2008) From Amazon: ""Enterprise 2.0" is one of the first books to explain the impact that social software will have inside the corporate firewall, and ultimately how staff will work together in the future. Niall Cook helps you to navigate this emerging landscape and introduces the key concepts that make up 'enterprise 2.0'. The 4Cs model at the heart of the book uses practical examples from well known companies in a range of industry sectors to illustrate how to apply enterprise 2.0 to encourage communication, cooperation, collaboration and connection between employees and customers in your own company. Erudite, well-researched and highly readable, this book is essential reading for anyone involved in knowledge, information and library management, as well as those implementing social software tools inside organizations." This work is another focused on changing organizational strategies to take advantage of social media. This, like McAfee's treatment, is focused on a specific organizational approach with some discussion of implementation. Cook highlights the value of linking technology and organizational practice but doesn't take on an approach for weaving technology, organization, and people together more generally. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (Li & Bernoff). Hardcover: 224 pages. Publisher: Harvard Business School Press; (April 21, 2008) From Amazon: "Corporate executives are struggling with a new trend: people using online social technologies (blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, podcasts) to discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals. This groundswell is global, it is unstoppable, it affects every industry and it's utterly foreign to the powerful companies running things now. When consumers you've never met are rating your company's products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester, Inc. explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity." Li & Bernoff provide an interesting description of the modern environment. While they lay out many of the organizational choices managers make about social technologies, they do not provide an overview for how to think of these organizational changes systematically. My goal in TOP Management is to help managers get through these and future trends. Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition (Kawasaki). Hardcover: 496 pages. Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (October 30, 2008) From Amazon: "In Silicon Valley slang, a “bozo explosion” is what causes a lean, mean, fighting machine of a company to slide into mediocrity. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, “If the two most popular words in your company are partner and strategic, and partner has become a verb, and strategic is used to describe decisions and activities that don’t make sense” . . . it’s time for a reality check.... Now, Kawasaki has compiled his best wit, wisdom, and contrarian opinions in handy book form. From competition to customer service, innovation to marketing, he shows readers how to ignore fads and foolishness while sticking to commonsense practices." Kawasaki's book provides a perspective on modern times and is entertaining. Do your Reality Check, see the need to make adjustments, and then look to TOP Management to help you with developing the needed skills to succeed. The New How: Building Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy (Merchant). Hardcover: 288 pages. Publisher: O'Reilly Media; (January 4, 2010) - Link is to O'Reilly site as this is pre-release. From Amazon: "Once in a generation, a book comes along that transforms the business landscape. For today's business leaders, The New How redefines the way companies create strategies and win new markets. Management gurus have always said "people matter." But those same gurus still relegate strategy to an elite set of executives who focus on frameworks, long presentations, and hierarchical approaches. Business strategy typically has been planned by corporate chiefs in annual meetings, and then dictated to managers to carry out. The New How turns that notion on its head. After many years of working with Apple, Adobe, HP, and many other companies, Nilofer Merchant discovered the secret sauce: the best way to create a winning strategy is to include employees at all levels, helping to create strategy they not only believe in, but are also equipped to implement. In The New How, Nilofer shows today's corporate directors, executives, and managers how they can transform their traditional, top-down approach to strategy planning and execution into collaborative "stratecution" that has proven to be significantly more effective.
  • Enhance performance and outcomes by deflating the "air sandwich" between executives in the boardroom and employees
  • Recognize that strategy and execution are thoroughly intertwined
  • Understand how successful strategy is founded in effective idea selection-a pile of good ideas doesn't necessarily build good strategy
  • Create company strategy and link it to targeted execution, using the practical models and techniques provided"
See my earlier comments on The New How here. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (Tim Brown). Hardcover: 272 pages. Publisher: HarperBusin (September 29, 2009) From Amazon: "In this book Tim Brown, CEO of the celebrated innovation and design firm IDEO, introduces us to design thinking. Design is not just about creating elegant objects or beautifying the world around us. The best designers match necessity to utility, constraint to possibility, and need to demand. These design thinkers rely on rigorous observations of how we use spaces and the objects and services that occupy them; they discover patterns where others see complexity and confusion; they synthesize new ideas from seemingly disparate fragments; and they convert problems into opportunities. Design thinking is a method in which genius, in the end, is not required. Design thinking is valuable not just in so-called creative industries or for people tasked with designing products. Rather, it is often most powerful when applied to abstract, multifaceted problems: improving a guest experience at a hotel, encouraging bank customers to save more, or developing a compelling narrative for a public-service campaign. It has been used by organizations such as Nokia to rethink global gaming and by the Department of Energy to encourage conservation. Design thinking is now being applied to address a wide range of issues and concerns, from the delivery of clean drinking water in the developing world to improving the efficacy of airport security and microfinancing." This is an inspirational treatment of design thinking. I see design thinking as a deeper capability than TOP Management. Design Thinking describes a human skill akin to systems savvy. TOP Management draws on design thinking-like processes and applies them in organizations (making the claim that the keys are technology, organizations, and people). Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations (Rao). Hardcover: 222 pages. Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 1, 2008) From Publishers Weekly: "Rao, professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Stanford University, explores the role of collective action in promoting or hindering business innovation. Drawing heavily on theories of social movements, the author posits a cycle of hot causes, unexpected events or innovations, and cool mobilization, activities that channel emotional responses into popular mass actions that anchor new identities embracing or rejecting the hot cause. Rao presents several case studies in which activist behavior either encouraged or impeded the creation and expansion of new markets, technologies or new organizational structures. For example, early 20th-century automobile enthusiasts were able to placate fears about car safety (the hot cause) by staging hundreds of reliability contests that demonstrated the car's safety and practicality to a wide audience (the cool mobilization). Though dryly written and repetitive, the case studies themselves are fascinating and challenge traditional economic models that privilege individual consumer choice while ignoring broader social mobilizations. A final chapter offers advice and strategies for would-be market rebels looking to harness collective action, making this book a useful resource for both citizen activists and corporate leaders and marketers seeking popular support for their products." See my earlier comments on Market Rebels here. Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom (Leonard & Swap). Hardcover: 272 pages. Publisher: Harvard Business Press (March 1, 2005) From Amazon: "Deep smarts are the engine of any organization-as well as the essential value that individuals build over their careers. Distinct from I.Q., this type of expertise consists of practical wisdom: accumulated knowledge, know-how, and intuition gained through extensive experience. How do such smarts develop? And what happens when people with deep smarts leave a particular job-or the organization? Can any of their smarts be transferred? Should they be? Basing their conclusions on a multiyear research project, Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap argue that cultivating and managing deep smarts are critical parts of any leader's job. The authors draw on examples from firms of all sizes and types to illustrate the connection between deep smarts and organizational viability and continuous innovation." I see Deep Smarts as being another example of a specific organizational application. TOP Management helps a manager assess, customize, and implement the ideas like those in Deep Smarts. Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (Tapscott). Hardcover: 384 pages. Publisher: McGraw-Hill; (October 3, 2008) From Amazon: "A fascinating inside look at the Net Generation, Grown Up Digital is inspired by a $4 million private research study. New York Times bestselling author Don Tapscott has surveyed more than 11,000 young people. Instead of a bunch of spoiled “screenagers” with short attention spans and zero social skills, he discovered a remarkably bright community which has developed revolutionary new ways of thinking, interacting, working, and socializing." Don Tapscott is a TOP manager. He understands the underlying technology options highlighted by the Net Generation, the organizational practices and policies the Net Generation must deal with, and the human development issues that give us the people aspects of the Net Generation and their interactions with Baby Boomers. His book is an example of TOP Management -- see in particular his discussions of the Net Generation at work. Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Goleman). Hardcover: 384 pages. Publisher: Bantam; 10 Anv edition (September 26, 2006) From Publishers Weekly (speaking of the original version): "New York Times science writer Goleman argues that our emotions play a much greater role in thought, decision making and individual success than is commonly acknowledged. He defines "emotional intelligence"?a trait not measured by IQ tests?as a set of skills, including control of one's impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships. Although his highly accessible survey of research into cognitive and emotional development may not convince readers that this grab bag of faculties comprise a clearly recognizable, well-defined aptitude, his report is nevertheless an intriguing and practical guide to emotional mastery. In marriage, emotional intelligence means listening well and being able to calm down. In the workplace, it manifests when bosses give subordinates constructive feedback regarding their performance. Goleman also looks at pilot programs in schools from New York City to Oakland, Calif., where kids are taught conflict resolution, impulse control and social skills." Like Design Thinking, Emotional Intelligence is focused on a deeper and complimentary capability to TOP Management. The focus is on the People piece of Technology, Organizations, and People. Academic treatments: Information Technology for Management: Improving Performance in the Digital Economy (Turban & Volonino). Hardcover: 648 pages. Publisher: Wiley; 7 edition (March 30, 2009) From Amazon: "Information technology has changed how businesses operate and succeed in today’s global economy. Organizations can now use IT to transform themselves and achieve a tremendous competitive advantage. Information Technology for Management: Transforming Organizations in the Digital Economy, Seventh Edition highlights how this new technology is changing the current business environment and what effect it has on today’s students. The text addresses the major principles of MIS in order to prepare managers to understand the role of information technology in the digital economy. Revised and updated for a junior or senior level MIS or MBA course, this title will give students what they need to succeed in the emerging digital economy." This work focuses on how to use technology in organizations and is less focused on how to effectively manage all of technology, organizations, and people together. Technology and Society: Building Our Sociotechnical Future (Johnson & Whetmore, Editors). Paperback: 648 pages. Publisher: The MIT Press (November 30, 2008) From Amazon: "Technological change does not happen in a vacuum; decisions about which technologies to develop, fund, market, and use engage ideas about values as well as calculations of costs and benefits. This anthology focuses on the interconnections of technology, society, and values. It offers writings by authorities as varied as Freeman Dyson, Lawrence Lessig, Bruno Latour, and Judy Wajcman that will introduce readers to recent thinking about technology and provide them with conceptual tools, a theoretical framework, and knowledge to help understand how technology shapes society and how society shapes technology. It offers readers a new perspective on such current issues as globalization, the balance between security and privacy, environmental justice, and poverty in the developing world." Johnson and Whetmore focus on how technologies come to be and how social settings affect their implementation. They provide good background for understanding our interactions with new technologies but not much guidance on how to use technology as one part of organizational design. The Social Engagement of Social Science: A Tavistock Anthology : The Socio-Technical Perspective (Trist & Murray). Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (June 1993) This last is the most recent book I am aware of that focuses on an intertwined view of technology, organization, and people. It is part of a three-volume perspective on the early sociotechnical work done by the Tavistock Institutes and is an academic and historic treatment. I do not see modern managers making the jump from the Tavistock presentation to their own settings. To a degree, TOP Management is a popular and modern translation of many of the ideas of sociotechnical design.