Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book review: Empowered: Unleash your Employees

Dux Raymond (@meetdux) recently tweeted that FREE copies of “Empowered” were available for the Kindle via Amazon. My favorite “F” word is free so I downloaded it.


 I was a little concerned about spending time reading it knowing that there are hundreds of social media books out there and many of them are outdated the day they are printed. Luckily it was a great book and will be a benchmark social media book for at least the next year (why does technology move so fast?).  


In "Empowered" the authors Josh Bernoff and Ted Shadler not only discuss using social media in an effective manner for your business, but expand upon this premise:

"Your company is not and cannot be nimble enough to serve them. With your established processes and departmental boundaries, you move too slowly. Only your employees can help. And only if you unleash them." Further: "To succeed with empowered clients you must empower your employees to solve customer problems."

They also have many case studies (Dell, Ford, Best Buy, NHL, Quickbooks, E-trade, UPS, Black and Decker, Eagles Stadium and others) to show a bottom up flow of ideas from people they call HEROes (Highly Empowered Resourceful Operatives) who are key to making these ideas work. The HEROes are driven by a desire to create improvements on their own initiative rather than to live with the status quo.

Many of the examples in the book revolve around customer service. You know, those clients that can blog or tweet and bring you thousands of negative impressions over-night.

There is also an excellent section in the book on selection criteria for selecting HERO projects and tips for creating governance boards and teams for internal monitoring and gaining buy-in from senior management.

They also touch on things like SharePoint (it could be a HERO idea to have a document repository or workflows). Did you install it and send out the company wide email and saying, “please use it” only to find out that no one is using it? As with any new application people hate change. If you won’t put the effort in training and re-training and keeping it in their faces they will never use your new HERO application.

Overall I thought the book was easy to read and understand (with the real world examples mixed in) and it has a nice flow on how the process works. So if you are looking to add a little social media to your organization, this is a great book to start with.

1 comment:

  1. Ryan,

    Thanks for the heads up on this book. I recently attended a Disney Institute event on Quality Customer Service from the Disney Brand perspective. This program gave me a new respect for listen to employees and even how they train and encourage learning at Disney. Social Media could only help. This book sounds like a good core book on social media that I should include in my reading list. If you haven't read Trust Agents by Chris Brogan, I would recommend that to help set the right perspective one should have as they step foot into social media as well.



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