The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

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Harvard Business Press, 2015 - BUSINESS & ECONOMICS - 227 pages
This is a story of reinvention.

Jim Whitehurst, celebrated president and CEO of one of the world's most revolutionary software companies, tells first-hand his journey from traditional manager (Delta Air Lines, Boston Consulting Group) and “chief” problem solver to CEO of one of the most open organizational environments he'd ever encountered. This challenging transition, and what Whitehurst learned in the interim, has paved the way for a new way of managing—one this modern leader sees as the only way companies will successfully function in the future. Whitehurst says beyond embracing the technology that has so far disrupted entire industries, companies must now adapt their management and organizational design to better fit the Information Age. His mantra? “Adapt or die.”

Indeed, the successful company Whitehurst leads—the open source giant Red Hat—has become the organizational poster child for how to reboot, redesign, and reinvent an organization for a decentralized, digital age. Based on open source principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration, “open management” challenges conventional business ideas about what companies are, how they run, and how they make money. This book provides the blueprint for putting it into practice in your own firm. He covers challenges that have been missing from the conversation to date, among them: how to scale engagement; how to have healthy debates that net progress; and how to attract and keep the “Social Generation” of workers.

Through a mix of vibrant stories, candid lessons, and tested processes, Whitehurst shows how Red Hat has blown the traditional operating model to pieces by emerging out of a pure bottom up culture and learning how to execute it at scale. And he explains what other companies are, and need to be doing to bring this open style into all facets of the organization. By showing how to apply open source methods to everything from structure, management, and strategy to a firm's customer and partner relationships, leaders and teams will now have the tools needed to reach a new level of work. And with that new level of work comes unparalleled success.

The Open Organization is your new resource for doing business differently. Get ready to make traditional management thinking obsolete.
 

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Contents

1 Why Opening Up Your Organization Matters
1
Why Motivating and Inspiring
23
2 Igniting Passion
25
3 Building Engagment
53
How Getting Things Done
83
4 Choosing Meritocracy Not Democracy
85
5 Letting the Sparks Fly
109
What Setting Direction
133
Its a Journey
183
Appendix
195
Notes
203
Bibliography
209
Index
211
Acknowledgments
221
About the Author
225
Copyright

7 Catalyzing Direction
163

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About the author (2015)

Jim Whitehurst is the president and CEO of Red Hat, the largest open source software company in the world. Before joining Red Hat, he held various positions at Delta Air Lines, most recently as chief operating officer, responsible for operations, sales and customer service, network and revenue management, marketing and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Delta, Whitehurst served as a partner at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and held various leadership roles in its Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Atlanta offices.

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