How Many Phones Do You Carry?

Are you the type of business executive who fills his or her pockets with multiple devices? Do you carry one type of smartphone for work purposes and another smartphone for personal use? You might be interested in checking out this article from The Wall Street Journal. As Roger Cheng, the article’s author, writes, “For lots of workers, the company BlackBerry just doesn’t cut it anymore.” This speaks volumes about the way in which the public’s demand for the latest technology is roaring ahead of many organization’s ability to keep pace. Cheng makes a very interesting point about the fact that many successful companies are allowing their employees to use their own devices. However, such an allowance comes with a tacit understanding between employer and employee that issues of cost and accountability will be shared.

This sort of concept is further proof of the ideas suggested by authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan in their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results. The idea that companies are allowing employees to use their personal mobile devices for business purposes matches Katzenbach and Khan’s suggestion that use of practices from the informal organization strengthen a company’s efforts. In the same vein, the rules established between employer and employee that Cheng discusses in his article fit with the authors’ notion that the traditional formal organization still has a place in the new landscape. The Wall Street Journal piece is an excellent indication of the way in which the two ideas blend.

In case you missed our recent Soundview Live event with Katzenbach and Khan, the archive link is now available! Click here to learn more and find out how you can listen to the event at your convenience.

And don’t forget, no matter what type of smartphone you use, Soundview Executive Book Summaries are available in a format that works with your device!

Conquer Your Fear of the Informal

According to best-selling authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan, organizations that are ahead of the curve experience success because they’ve mastered a very difficult art: balancing the formal with the informal. As they write in their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results the most successful companies, “retain the efficiency and clarity of the well-defined structures that define the formal organization while also capitalizing on the flexibility and speed of the social networks and peer interactions that connect people informally.”

It’s a daunting prospect for many organizations and one that the authors will discuss in detail with you tomorrow during their exclusive Soundview Live Webinar How to Tap the Power of the Informal. Tune in tomorrow (Tuesday, April 12, 2011) at Noon (Eastern) to learn the secrets that allow the best companies to integrate the formal and informal aspects of an organization.

One of the key takeaways I hope that you’ll gain from tomorrow’s presentation is that as a company grows, its balance between the formal and informal will change. There is a fear among executives that embracing the informal means an environment in which people spend more time on Facebook than they do on job responsibilities. The authors will demonstrate why this simply isn’t the case. What’s more interesting is the fact that the informal plays a key role in the development of a small business. As the business grows, its adoption of formal structure will be viewed through the lens of the informal. It’s a fascinating process and tomorrow’s Soundview Live will help your organization at any stage of its development.

Don’t miss Soundview Live with Jon Katzenbach and Zia Khan tomorrow at Noon (Eastern). And don’t forget to pick up your copy of the summary of Leading Outside the Lines by clicking this link or visiting Soundview online at!

Soundview Live: Tap the Power of the Informal

I just wanted to post a reminder to everyone that you’re running out of time to join Soundview for the next installment of our Soundview Live Webinar series. On Tuesday, April 12 at Noon (Eastern), you’ll have the opportunity to hear best-selling authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan discuss their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results. The authors will present “How to Tap the Power of the Informal.”

It’s a topic that’s garnered a lot of attention among Soundview subscribers. I recently had the opportunity to interview the authors and in the course of our conversation, they pointed out that the informal organization is something that many companies approach with fear. There is the impression that it can lead to either a decrease in productivity or an unwelcome breach of company security. I think listeners will be impressed when they hear Katzenbach and Khan explain the benefits of the social networks and customer interactivity that are part and parcel of the informal organization.

It’s also interesting to hear their take on the traditional organization. A common misconception is that the authors are advocating a wholesale change from the formal to the informal. This isn’t the case. In fact, the authors do a great job of selling the strengths of both the formal and informal organization and the best methods to blend the two.

This is going to be an event that you won’t want to miss. You’ve got less than a week to register for this event, so click this link and sign up today. Don’t forget, if you’re a Soundview subscriber, you can attend Soundview Live for FREE!

The New Building Blocks of an Organization

I’m fascinated by the fact that even during a period of high unemployment, the work force is holding strong to its belief that a company should offer more than a steady wage. This is part of the evolution of the modern workplace that continues to serve up plenty of research topics for scholars and authors alike. The criteria for what makes a company a great employer are shifting in the same way as the generations that populate the company’s positions.

One of our newest summaries, Leading Outside the Lines by Jon Katzenbach and Zia Khan, helps executives understand the changes in the make-up of today’s workplace. The authors point out that a key to achieving greater success lies in understanding the combination of two factions that create the workplace. Workers are looking for the correct balance between the formal and informal sides of a company. The formal side is the territory of performance metrics, company processes and management structure. The informal side deals with the culture of an organization and the grassroots aspects of a company’s service and support efforts.

This idea goes hand-in-hand with recent research that suggests that younger workers don’t clearly demarcate between on-the-job and off-the-job. The “go-anywhere” aspect of technology means that work can take place at any time and in any location. While this is hardly new information, the surprise is that it leads this youngest crop of workers to put in as much or more time on the job than previous generations. Consider the fact that the average employee spends more waking hours on the job than he or she does with friends and family, and it’s easy to see why the demand for informal aspects of an organization is so great.

To learn more about Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results, visit Soundview online at

Three Hot New Summaries Available Now!

Depending on where you live, this has been quite a brutal summer, hasn’t it? I don’t think I can remember a year where I’ve consciously avoided spending too much time outdoors as much as I have this summer. Of course, my extra time spent in the air conditioning means that I’ve been able to read even more business books. Our entire editorial team has been hard at work scouring the stacks of submissions. The result of this intense study is three new summaries now available on!

As I mentioned on Wednesday of this week, Soundview subscribers can’t get enough of the insightful works of John C. Maxwell. We’re pleased to announce that you can now read the summary of his latest book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. In this book, Maxwell provides readers with the skills to create lasting connections through communication. Whether speaking to an audience of one or a thousand, Maxwell shares the best practices to create memorable connections.

Have you ever wondered why some products take off while others languish? Author Kevin Maney provides an in-depth examination of this problem in the summary of his book Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On and Others Don’t. Maney argues that successful products are either high fidelity or high convenience. Read the summary to see why companies that try to merge the two into a single product end up losing potential buyers.

Finally, our third new summary takes readers on an exploration of the modern workplace. Jon Katzenbach and Zia Khan offer leaders a new way forward in their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results.

Who said these have to be the dog days of August? We’ve got three great summaries in eight digital formats to help take your mind off the heat. Learn more about the benefits of a Soundview subscription.