Book Review: The Connected Leader

“What can two singles looking for love on the internet tell you about what your customers want?

Why does it take an anarchist golfer to show you how to meet your customers’ needs?

What can an 8-year-old nail-varnish-loving girl know about motivating people?”

Thus begins the press release for Emmanuel Gobillot’s new book, The Connected Leader which calls the book’s concept “Leadership for the ‘myspace’ generation”.

Mass consumerism is being replaced by the People Economy Today humanity’s focus is self-actualization, which puts the consumer in the driving seat – wanting to co-create their products and experiences -as the explosion of the myspace phenomemon demonstrates.Meanwhile, employees are also demanding more. Bribery is no longer a performance management option – employees will only fully engage with organizations that tap into their own personal goals and aspirations.

In today’s context, formal hierarchies are no longer effective. Only the Real Organization, with its interwoven networks, can be agile enough to respond to the People Economy.”

Gobillot has written a remarkably good book, but not for anything in the quote above. In fact, the author himself says:

“Like you, I read business and leadership books. Probably like you, I am taken in by bold claims and disappointed once they turn out to be nothing more than ‘common sense’. Most insights are common sense, mainly because, by the time we have heard them, they make so much sense that we think we have known them to be true all along!In my experience, though, in organizations today common sense is not all that common. Many common-sense ideas contained in management books are seldom implemented. Therefore, my aim with this book is to translate the above proposition into something that you will see the value of and know how to implement.”

This approach is what makes this book remarkable. Anyone who reads Businesspundit, Spooky Action, or any other business blog or publication has seen or heard some or all of these themes before. What Gobillot has done is weave them all together into a cohesive plan for management action. The book includes theories, stories and examples, diagnostics and specific tactics for making yourself a Connected Leader. He strikes a wonderful balance between the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of the People Economy and Connected Leadership, and the advice sensible, practical, and well-written.

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What is most remarkable is how the material is constructed. Each chapter begins by stating what topical questions the chapter will answer. Do you think you already know about what drives engagement with customers today? Then skip to the end of the chapter, where you will find a 30-second summary of the material, as well as a quick set of Leadership Takeways – the what without the why.

At the end of each section, there is a diagnostic tool to show you how your current situation stacks up, and the book ends with a summarization of the author’s program to make yourself a Connected Leader in a powerful Real Organization agile enough to succeed in the People Economy. As Gobillot says: “There is no need to be sequential to be connected”, and he’s right! This book will work for both right-brain and left-brain managers and everyone in between. The organization helps readers avoid the “I’ve already seen this idea a dozen times, so I’m skipping the rest of this book” syndrome and easily get the full picture as efficiently as possible.

Anyone interested in moving beyond formal organizations selling products and into communities of engagement will enjoy The Connected Leader. I also hope that authors of other business books will get it to experience and adapt the organization for themselves!

This book review was done by Mike Dewitt, and originally posted at Spooky Action.