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communiqu

bookmark reviewed by linda dulye

Speaking volumes
Talk is one thing, but measurement and data tell the story found myself enthusiastically nodding my head with shout-outs of yeah! while reading the first chapter of Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations. Effective organizational conversation occurs only where leaders are able to get close to all employees, claim authors Boris Groysberg, a Harvard Business School professor of organizational behavior, and Michael Slind, a communication professional with stints at Fast Company and Harvard Business School. Amen. To achieve effective organizational conversation, the authors offer a memorable mnemonic model designed around four I-factors: G Intimacy: Conversation should bring people together, figuratively and literally. G Interactivity: Conversation should be two-way. G Inclusion: Conversation should engage participants to actively share their ideas and insights. G Intentionality: Conversation should be purpose-driven, focused on achieving an outcome that provides business value. Each I-factor unfolds in an instructional orientation chapter, followed by illustrative case studies about conversational
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about the book


Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind Harvard Business Review Press, 2012 256 pages

practices culled from hands-on research conducted by the authors. The net effect is that Talk, Inc. is chock-full of stuff to do to strike up conversations. But missing is the substance to cement leadership buy-in and capital investment: measurement and data. Given the authors credentials, I anticipated new data on the topic. Research that could build on Harvard Business Schools landmark 2011 What Do CEOs Do? study on executive engagement with associates and productivity. Research like that, which identi-

fied a direct and positive correlation, could get the attention of senior leaders on a topic traditionally viewed as soft, and prove the value proposition of organizational conversations their bottom-line impact on operational and organizational performance. Groysberg and Slind missed the mark on measurement. They didnt establish quantitative performance criteria in their 4-I model and then measure them. The qualitative data they provide add color and depth. Its interesting to read about an executive who personally replies to 150 emails a day, or another who openly shares whats on his mind through video blogs. To show impact and improvement, however, you need a yardstick. For every practice identified I wanted to know: What was the cost? How was ROI measured? Tracked? Reported? How were leaders convinced to do it? What metrics were used to evaluate the effectiveness of employee-leader conversations? And what metrics were used to evaluate the impact of these practices on business performance? Whether the audience for this book is functional leaders in corporate communication and human resource departments or senior leaders of divisions and factories, a healthy dose of data is needed to prove that direct conversation powers organizations. G

Its interesting to read about an executive who personally replies to 150 emails a day, or another who openly shares whats on his mind through video blogs. To show impact and improvement, however, you need a yardstick.

about the reviewer


A former communications leader for GE and Allied Signal, Linda Dulye established Dulye & Co. in 1998 to offer a practical, process-driven approach for improving communications and collaboration through an engaged workforce.

Communication World SeptemberOctober 2012

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