Talk, Inc.

Book review: Need to start more meaningful dialogue with your staff? This book has a few tips.


(Photo: Natalie Castellino)

TALK, INC.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations
(Harvard Business Review)
Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind

According to a recent survey conducted by global public relations firm Edelman, CEOs have the trust of just 17% of the population. Their employees, on the other hand, fare much better, earning nearly three times the credibility. Alongside our simmering suspicion of the C-suite is a growing realization that no matter how many folksy blog posts a CEO writes, a company’s ordinary employees have become its most trusted brand ambassadors. Consider Talk, Inc. a how-to manual for business leaders looking to forge more meaningful dialogue with staff and, along the way, transfer a sense of ownership over their company’s guiding vision. The book has tips on how to break out of the old, top-down model of corporate communications. While its emphasis on fostering “intimacy” between bosses and underlings can at times read like the world’s most awkward relationship guide, that’s kind of the point. Take the case of medical records technology firm Athenahealth, which took the radical step of sharing its complete financial history with all of its roughly 600 employees before going public in 2007. Just like a committed couple opening a joint bank account, the move created trust. Since then, the company has almost doubled its staff.