Leading Outside the Lines

How to Mobilize the Informal Organization, Energize Your Team, and Get Better Results

Leading Outside the Lines

Every enterprise has an informal as well as a formal organization. The formal is the side with which business people are usually most familiar. It consists of analyses, strategies, structures, processes, and programs — all codified in memos, charts, and power-point presentations.

These tools are designed to align decisions and actions. The informal is generally less familiar. It consists of emerging ideas, social networks, working norms, values,peer relationships, and communities of common interest — the elements that often hide beyond the boundaries of the formal.

In Leading Outside the Lines, authors Jon Katzenbach and Zia Khan make the compelling case that it is in the less familiar informal world where magic happens … yet one without the other is unlikely to sustain peak performance over time.

Through persuasive case studies from enterprises of all sizes around the world — in business, government and the social sector — Katzenbach and Khan reveal how top-level organizations balance informal and formal elements to achieve outstanding results. Leading Outside the Lines represents an insightful new approach for understanding and improving the success of corporate initiatives by showing when you can get the most done by using elements that operate under the radar (the informal), and when it is in fact better to use more traditional processes (the formal). Most importantly, the book illustrates how the two can work together to get the best of both. The book also provides self-assessment guidelines for senior leaders, front-line managers, and individual contributors.

Using the information and tools outlined in this book, leaders and potential leaders at all levels can tap into the power of the informal to achieve top-notch, sustainable performance, and results.

Jon Katzenbach is a Senior Executive Advisor at PwC’s Strategy& and Zia Khan vice president for strategy and evaluation at the Rockefeller Foundation. Leading Outside the Lines is published by Jossey-Bass.