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



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

Jon R. Katzenbach, Zia Khan

ISBN: 978-0-470-58902-1 April 2010 Jossey-Bass 240 Pages

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

From the bestselling coauthor of the business classic The Wisdom of Teams comes an all-new exploration of the modern workplace, and how leaders and managers must embrace it for success. Katzenbach and Khan examine how two distinct factions together form the bigger picture for how organizations actually work: the more defined "formal" organization of a company-the management structure, performance metrics, and processes-and the "informal"-the culture, social networks, and ad hoc communities that spring up naturally and can accelerate or hinder how the organization works. With dynamic examples from enterprises around the world, this book takes a timeless organizational approach and creates a powerful paradigm-shifting tool set for applying it.

  • Includes self-assessment guidelines for senior leaders, front-line managers, and individual contributors
  • Features organizations in business, government, the nonprofit sector, and academia-including the New York City schools system, Aetna, the Marines, United Nations, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Home Depot, Bell Canada, and the Houston Police Department

Leading Outside the Lines illustrates how leaders can make the two distinct factions work together to get the best of both.

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.


“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