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Catching the “human” up to the “electronic” world

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How to Manage in a Flat World: 10 Strategies to Get Connected to Your Team Wherever They Are

By Susan Bloch & Philip Whiteley

FT Press: $24.99 (U.S.)

There are really two internets, according to authors Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley, the electronic one and the human one. “The first advances like a bullet train; the second, at the pace of a mule.” Progress in the electronic one has been rapidly transformed the global economy: “…the world has become “flat” – a single global economy with most of the world’s businesses electronically connected,” Bloch and Whiteley contend.

In contrast, progress on the human internet has been slow. The authors note that the way in which we lead and relate to our colleagues is just as important to the global company as its infrastructure. “But the principles underlying these practices are not universally applied,” say Bloch and Whiteley.

During their research, the authors conducted in-depth interviews with 25 senior managers from across the globe and conducted online surveys with another 40 international executives. They were determined to find out whether we are equipped to manage teams that span continents, as well as whether we can maintain a work-life balance when communications technology is always switched on.

They found that the relative importance of teamwork, communication and motivation – the human internet – is growing in the flat world. Chapters include:

  • “Flat teams” need direction
  • The medium and the message
  • Does culture still matter?
  • Engage leadership skills
  • Teams are not self-assembly
  • EQ is not enough
  • Keeping a life

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