“The Plugged-In Manager” by Terri L. Griffith

In December, my good friend Howard Lewinter (@HowardLewinter), who is a guest-post contributor to this site, introduced me to Terri Griffith. I immediately called Terri and had a delightful conversation with her. We agreed to order each other’s books, read them, and review them. Today’s blog is the review of Terri’s book The Plugged-In Manager.

Terri L. Griffith is a brilliant professor of management at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. Her experience encompasses more than 25 years of research in organizations of all sizes and across industries, and she has developed deep insights about the realities of working with technology. Terri writes the award-winning blog “Technology and Organizations.” To find out more about this amazing woman, visit terrigriffith.com.

I’ll admit, overall, this was not an easy read for me—highly informative, yes, but not easy; I did a lot of rereading and note taking as I went from chapter to chapter. Not surprisingly, I found the stories and case studies that Terri provides to be the most interesting parts of the book. I’m recommending The Plugged-In Manager to you because…if you’re in management, you’re going to discover the specific concepts that the manager of today must understand and be able to implement, in order to be successful in today’s ever-changing world of business. You’re going to learn how to mix people, technology, and organization into strong, but flexible, business solutions. You’re going to find out that if you’re not “plugged in,” you’re operating in an old-fashioned manner that’s costing you and your company dearly.

In Part One, Terri Griffith gives us the Three Practices of the Plugged-In Manager:

1. Stop-Look-Listen—“scanning for choices across the people, technology, and organization dimensions of workplace decisions.”

2. Mixing—“creatively blending those choices into effective strategies and tactics.”

3. Sharing—“ensuring that others understand your plugged-in approach and can work in parallel.”

In Part Two, we’re shown how to plug in, and we’re offered suggestions and tools for developing our abilities into something even more powerful:

1. Assess Your Ability to Plug In.

2. Plugging In Through Practice.

3. The Layers of Plugged-In Management.

Whenever I order a book, I first read all the Amazon reviews. Usually there’s one or two that have a profound influence on me. The review of The Plugged-In Manager that influenced me the most is from Chris Grams of Raleigh, North Carolina:

“The Plugged-In Manager is one of the most thought-provoking and *current* management books I’ve read in years. Terri Griffith’s position as professor of management at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley puts her in an ideal location to learn from and connect with some of the top management innovators in the world today.

There is nothing traditional about her worldview. Terri marries some of the core principles that define success in a world shaped by the Internet–transparency, sharing, collaboration, rapid prototyping–with a deliberate and repeatable approach that current and aspiring managers can use to ensure they make effective decisions in a rapidly-changing landscape.

A few particular strengths of this book: 1) it provides a set of well-designed, repeatable practices that will allow managers to quickly and easily begin to put theory into practice 2) it shares detailed, personal stories from managers at some of the most innovative organizations in the world, including Zappos, Nucor, IBM, Cisco, and Intuit 3) It includes a series of scenario-based assessment tools that will allow you to test how well your current approach matches that of the “plugged-in managers” she has researched. Quickly learn how far you’ve come (or how far you have to go).

If you are looking for ways to be a more effective manager in an Internet-enabled world, spending a few hours reading this book will be an excellent investment of your time.”

Do yourself a big favor and order The Plugged-In Manager today. Then get yourself plugged-in as quickly as you possibly can—you and your company will never be the same!