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Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business

Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business

3.7 7
by Josh Bernoff, Ted Schadler

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Is Your Company EMPOWERED for Success?

You know it's happening within your organization. Your people, armed with cheap, accessible technology, are connecting with customers and building innovative new solutions. But who are these creative problem-solvers? How can you be one? And just as important—how can you lead them?

We call them HEROes:


Is Your Company EMPOWERED for Success?

You know it's happening within your organization. Your people, armed with cheap, accessible technology, are connecting with customers and building innovative new solutions. But who are these creative problem-solvers? How can you be one? And just as important—how can you lead them?

We call them HEROes: highly empowered and resourceful operatives. Your company needs them because in the age of Twitter, iPhones, Facebook, YouTube, and an ever-evolving torrent of Web information, your customers now step up to the counter armed with more data and access than ever before, and in many cases, your company is overmatched.

In Empowered, Forrester's Josh Bernoff—coauthor of the pioneering book Groundswell—and Ted Schadler explain how to transform your company by unleashing the mighty force of these HEROes. Like John Bernier and Ben Hedrington at Best Buy, who built an army of 2,500 tweeting employees to reach out to customers online. Or Ross Inglis, who tapped into Internet computing resources to open an entirely new customer channel for Thomson Reuters. Or John Stadick, who equipped 600 sales staff with iPhones and boosted profits at his construction rental company.

The truth is, one in three of your information workers already use easily accessible technologies that your company does not sanction. Empowered gives you a prescription for embracing this covert innovation. At the heart of a HERO-powered business is a new pact between these critical employees, company managers, and the IT department: HEROes build new solutions to meet customer needs, management sets clear rules while encouraging more experimentation, and IT expands its role to both support and secure these business solutions.

Fueled by data from Forrester Research, Empowered is packed with the business tools and information necessary to move your organization several steps ahead of the competition:

• Statistical analysis of the 16% of customers who account for 80% of the online influence

• The four-step IDEA process to transform customer-facing service, marketing, and mobile applications

• A tool to score HERO projects on value and effort, to offer guidance on which projects to support

• The HERO index: A scorecard of the industries and departments with the most—and the fewest—HEROes

• Roadmaps for collaboration systems that stimulate and support HERO innovation

• The game plan for IT's new role as a key partner in technology ideas throughout the company

• Dozens of case studies and examples from firms in every industry, from retail to business services

Armed with an arsenal of exciting and valuable new technologies, your employees are already transforming the way you do business. You can lead them or block them—it's your choice. Empowered will help you make the right decision.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a worthwhile book for anyone in business to read, not just for marketing or innovation, but also for strategy." – Journal of Consumer Marketing

"…is a well-written, useful guide to how companies can empower their employees." - Ad Age

"If the future sounds scary, Empowered describes it in reasonable, even methodical terms. The book Empowered is a milestone for where things are headed, both for the business manager and the IT manager." - InformationWeek

"…this book is a practical explanation of how social influence marketing, which is having your customers create customers for you—works! Loaded with lots of easy to understand cases, this is an information packed book demonstrating that social technology has become universal." Chief Executive

Library Journal
Two vice presidents at Forrester Research (Bernoff is also the coauthor of Groundswell) offer a rare thing: a book about using new technologies that actually goes beyond jargon and offers practical solutions. In addition to providing examples of how today's consumers have empowered themselves through social software, the authors suggest that the best way to deal with such customers is to train and support empowered workers (or HEROes, "highly empowered and resource operatives"). The most valuable part of the book is its second half, which describes how HERO employees, management, and IT staff can and must collaborate to make the system work. The focus on the whole organization makes this a good read for employees and managers alike.

Product Details

Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Josh Bernoff is the coauthor of the Business Week bestseller Groundswell, the "best book ever written on marketing and media" (Advertising Age). He is senior vice president, idea development, at Forrester Research.

Ted Schadler is a vice president and principal analyst in Forrester's IT Research Group. His work over thirteen years at Forrester has focused on disruptive technologies and how senior decision-makers should harness them.

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Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
In his previous book Groundswell, Josh Bernoff defined strategies for engaging customers on Twitter, blogs and other online social technologies. Since then, a growing number of businesses have connected with their customers using these online tools. But what effect does that engagement have on companies? And what "management challenge" does this new trend present? In this book, Bernoff and his Forrester Research colleague Ted Schadler examine these pressing questions. With great precision and enthusiasm, they detail why and how companies should change the way they run to "unleash" their employees' technological potential, so they can reach out to customers and solve their problems. getAbstract recommends Bernoff and Schadler's book to all managers and marketing professionals. Its concepts and strategies are vital knowledge for modern businesses.
at_hoffge More than 1 year ago
I have seen Josh present on this topic earlier in 2010 and I'm pleased to see that it was just a small taste of was to come in this book. I was initially concerned that this would be just another social media guru book - happily it is not. You can take away lots of insights from social media hits and misses (e.g. Maytag, Best Buy, Zappos, and others) but the real power here is in the way the authors recognize the need to update your corporate culture by fully utilizing (empowering) your human capital. Customer delight is always a top priority - regardless if it's average Joe or a new media maven/influencer. That is a given and you need to be where the communications technology takes us over time. What is critical for break-out performance is the ability to innovate quickly and efficiently to beat the competition. Fail fast and frequently, give people the incentive and infrastructure to succeed on their own, and put in place the ability to score and launch empowered HERO projects. Buy a copy of this book, pass it on your leadership team, and be ready to respond when they ask you to make it happen at your company.
Jennifer_Fong More than 1 year ago
Josh Bernoff has done it again! Empowered is a fascinating look at how employees with great ideas in your organization can be encouraged to innovate and transform your business to better serve customers. As it says in the book, with the rise of social technologies, customer service is the new marketing. And by following the clearly-outlined process in this book, managers can work with employee innovators (HEROs, they're called in the book) and IT stakeholders to allow customers to be better served, so they talk about your business in positive ways online. I loved all the case studies and practical examples that show how this can work in the real world. I'm a social media consultant. I was in a meeting with a client only yesterday, and I found myself referencing and pulling this book out multiple times, referencing the handy checklists, charts, and questions. My clients can't wait to get their own copies! Truly, this is a resource that every business person needs.
andyamo More than 1 year ago
I read "Empowered" over the September 11-12 weekend (it was already in my local B&N store). Although I was already familiar with many of the concepts through "Groundswell," the "boom boom pow" of this edition was the HERO Compact: IT, managers, and highly empowered and resourceful operatives (HEROes). In the authors' words, "technology populism" is not a fad: employees (and their end customers) are mastering new aspects of technology every day. Left unchecked, this innovation could result in chaos. The authors correctly note that "it must align with corporate strategy . . . leadership has to communicate its goals and strategies more effectively or there will be a lot of wasted innovation." Pulling disenfranchised, rogue and locked-down employees into the HERO employees quadrant (acting more resourceful and feeling more empowered) is more than just pop psychology: it's a value generator and competitive differentiator (especially with Customer Service, where less than one in five employees are HEROes). Another telling statement: "innovation is about speed (fast, cheap experiments and high velocity), collaboration (feedback from across the organization; a business strategy: a way to improve the productivity of people and teams and accelerate the flow of information throughout the company), and systems (software that supports innovation). The "aha" moment was showing how the groundswell technology trends of smart mobile devices, pervasive video, cloud computing services, and social technology empower and serve customers, and develop workers in the process. To quote the book and Malcolm Harkins, chief information security officer at Intel, we need to "run toward the risk so [we] can shape it" -- and resist the urge to treat these fundamental shifts in the way business is conducted as a fad or a dot-com-like "blip" in the Information Age. As great as "Groundswell" was, this book has eclipsed it in terms of sheer business value. Read it, share it, put it into practice. Your customers are already doing so.