Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the Informal Organization, Energize Your Team, and Get Better Results


An all-new approach to understanding and inspiring the(in)formal connections of an organization

In this dynamic work, thought leaders Jon R. Katzenbach,coauthor of the business classic The Wisdom of Teams, and Zia Khanoffer an all-new examination of the modern workplace, and howleaders and managers must embrace it for success. Together theyreveal how two distinct factions form the bigger picture for howorganizations actually work: the more defined and visible ...

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An all-new approach to understanding and inspiring the(in)formal connections of an organization

In this dynamic work, thought leaders Jon R. Katzenbach,coauthor of the business classic The Wisdom of Teams, and Zia Khanoffer an all-new examination of the modern workplace, and howleaders and managers must embrace it for success. Together theyreveal how two distinct factions form the bigger picture for howorganizations actually work: the more defined and visible "formalorganization" of a company—the management structure,performance metrics, and formal strategy—and the "informalorganization"—the culture, social networks, and ad hoccommunities that spring up naturally and, in an equally vital butdifferent way, can accelerate or hinder an organization'ssuccess.

Through compelling case studies from enterprises around theworld (in business, government, the nonprofit sector, andacademia)Katzenbach and Khan explore how top-level organizationsbalance the informal and formal elements of organizations toachieve outstanding results. Leading Outside the Lines takesa timeless organizational approach and creates a powerfulparadigm-shifting tool set for applying it, showing when you canget the most done by using the informal elements that operate underthe radar, and when it is in fact better to use formal processes.Most important, it illustrates how the two can work together to getthe best of both. This groundbreaking book also offersself-assessment guidelines for senior leaders, front-line managers,and individual contributors who need to get better performanceresults.

Insightful leaders and managers at all levels know that toreally lead an organization, you cannot rely on formal constructsalone; you have to use the informal elements as well. Using theinformation and tools outlined in this compelling book, leaders andpotential leaders at all levels can tap into the power of theinformal to achieve superlative performance and results.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Those of us who have been writing about leadership and organization for years should heave a deep sigh of relief and wonder to read this book. Leading Outside the Lines forces us to review and rethink all the twisty turns, false dichotomies, paradoxes, fuzzy or over-metricized writings—all the confusions we've been wrestling with for years—and shapes them into a coherent, useful, and wise perspective. I love this book, and so will anyone with a desire and need to understand the requirements for 21st Century leadership.” —Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California, and author, Still Surprised

"If you want to know how work really gets done, read Leading Outside the Lines! It is the best book I have ever read at explaining the difference between what is supposed to be going on—and what is really going on in organizations."—Marshall Goldsmith, author, What Got You Here Won't Get You There and MOJO

“Katzenbach and Khan’s book is a must-read for leaders who want their teams to shine in terms of performance, innovation, retention, or any other metric of success. I’ve rarely read a book with such an extraordinary collection of fascinating, real-world examples that drive the message home.”Keith Ferrazzi, author, Who’s Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone

“Leading Outside the Lines is a vibrant book with a compelling message that's vital to the success of 21st century organizations—the message that informal human relationships, when effectively integrated with formal structures and systems, can powerfully propel people forward. It's a profoundly important idea that all contemporary leaders must attend to. This book is rich with real life examples of organizational turnaround and culture change — some of the most unique and engaging I've ever read — from actual leaders who tried, failed, learned, and succeeded. John Katzenbach and Zia Khan do a masterful job of weaving together these intriguing case examples with practical applications and useful assessment tools. This is a book about doing great work, making people proud, getting people connected, and living a values-driven life. It's a book you need to savor.”—Jim Kouzes, coauthor, The Leadership Challenge and Dean's Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Leading Outside the Lines is a very important and useful book. Katzenbach and Khan make the argument that corporations today need leaders who understand how to harness the power of the informal organization to improve both execution and innovation. Through insightful storytelling and their years of experience, they provide strategic and tactical advice about how the informal organization can transform your organization, whether it grapples with radical changes in the competitive environment or the inevitable growing pains of moving from start-up to established global enterprise.”—Linda A. Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“A must read for anyone struggling to adapt their organization to new realities. Filled with keen insight about the formal and informal life of organizations, Katzenbach and Khan offer practical advice on how to blend the two to bring out the best in your organization.”—Ronald A. Williams, Chairman and CEO, Aetna

"The rate of change in our business—and the need to move information at high speed across organizations—necessitated an innovative look at organizational structures and management styles. The ideas in Leading Outside the Lines helped speed and shape our major change implementations successfully."—Stan Glasgow, President and COO, Sony Electronics, Inc.

“Leading Outside the Lines is an incredible gift to leaders in all three sectors—public, private, and socialworking to move beyond the old walls, build the new, flexible, fluid management systems, and develop leaders of the future determined to build the organization of the future. This management guidebook brings the best of formal and informal organizational theory and experience to leaders at every level, across the enterprise.”—Frances Hesselbein, Chairman and Founding President, Leader to Leader Institute, Formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management

“Katzenbach and Khan demonstrate that you don’t have to choose between inspiring employees and getting amazing results—the best organizations do both. With novel perspectives, great stories, and practical advice they show leaders how to get the best of both in ways that can transform organizations. This book belongs in the hands of everyone who refuses to accept business as usual”—Chip Conley, CEO, Joie de Vivre and author,Peak

“Strategy and hierarchy drive how organizations operate, but so too do personal networks and intuitive judgments that define an equally powerful informal world within. Drawing on richly developed illustrations ranging from the Bushmen of southern Africa to eBay, Marine Corps, and Starbucks, Leading Outside the Lines provides a compelling account of how leaders can best capitalize on the hidden drivers of organizational life.”—Michael Useem, Professor of Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and author, The Leadership Moment

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470589021
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/19/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 485,007
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon R. Katzenbach is a senior vice president of Booz &Company, where he founded the Katzenbach Center. Previously, he wasthe founder and senior partner of Katzenbach Partners and a formerdirector of McKinsey & Company. He is the author of WhyPride Matters More Than Money, Peak Performance, andcoauthor of the seminal book The Wisdom of Teams.

Zia Khan is the vice president of strategy and evaluationat the Rockefeller Foundation and a senior fellow of the KatzenbachCenter. He cofounded the Katzenbach Center while a partner at Booz& Company. Previously, he led the Katzenbach Partners SanFrancisco office and developed many of the firm's hallmarkpracticesin strategy, organization design, and culture change.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Like Talking to a Wall.

Part One: Using the Informal to Enhance the Formal.

1 The Logic of the Formal; the Magic of the Informal.

2 When the Balance Shifts.

3 Jumping Together.

Part Two: Motivating Individual Performance.

4 It's All About the Work.

5 Values Driven, Not Values Displayed.

6 It's Still About Performance.

Part Three: Mobilizing Organizational Change.

7 Setting the Fast Zebras Free.

8 Melting the Frozen Tundra.

9 Mobilizing: A Different Kind of Managing.

10 What to Do.

In Conclusion.

About Our Sources and Methodology.

A Diagnostic Tool: Assessing Your Organizational Quotient.



About the Authors.


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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Superior Organizational Performance Reflecting its Formal and Informal Hues

    Jon Katzenbach and Zia Khan systematically explore the formal and informal elements of an organization. As the authors highlight repeatedly, the key challenge is how to integrate the two types of mechanisms that give an organization its distinctive DNA over time.

    Katzenbach and Khan urge leaders to keep and strengthen their formal managerial approaches to their business i.e., strategy, structures, processes and procedures, programs and initiatives, and performance goals and metrics. These formal building blocks bring precision and permanence to the organization. At the same time, the authors encourage leaders to recognize the limitations of these formal mechanisms in their pursuit of superior performance. Leaders also have to identify and cultivate the informal building blocks of their organization. These informal (outside the lines) building blocks regroup shared value, informal networks, communities, and pride.

    The identification and cultivation of the formal and informal elements of an organization is also important to all employees. The most effective employees in any organization learn quickly how an organization actually works instead of relying exclusively on the formal mechanisms that indicate how the organization is supposed to work.

    The balance between the formal and informal elements of an organization evolves over the life cycle of the organization. As a young organization grows, the formal building blocks that bring it precision and permanence will gain in importance. However, the leadership has to be careful not to alienate powerful informal elements of the organization that can reject new formal initiatives in which they do not buy in. Imbalances resulting from a lack of integration of the two types of elements tend to appear either during periods of significant growth or significant declines in growth.

    Katzenbach and Khan convincingly demonstrate that the mobilization of the informal elements of an organization is of particular importance to strategic planning, innovation, cost-cutting, culture change, or customer service. Whoever has worked in a turnaround environment will feel at home while reading the authors' coverage of mutating companies such as Bell Canada, Aetna, or The Home Depot.

    In summary, Katzenbach and Khan invite leaders to mobilize the informal to solve performance challenges. Relying exclusively on the formal elements of an organization to achieve the desired performance will often lead to disappointing results.

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    Posted November 23, 2010

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