November 2, 2004
News & Opinion: BOOK REVIEW: The Transparent Leader
Authors: Herb Baum (CEO, Dial Corporation)
Reviewer: johnmoore (from the Brand Autopsy blog)
As a Transparent Book Reviewer, Im gonna communicate openly, honestly, and clearly with you.
I highly recommend Herb Baums The Transparent Leader.
I recommend it because Herb breaks down what it takes for a company, a leader, and an employee to be transparent. He does so by telling informative and engaging stories straight from his experience as current CEO of Dial, former CEO of Quaker State, and from serving on numerous corporate boards.
Baum believes for a company to practice transparency, it must do three things: (1) tell the truth, (2) build a values-based culture, and (3) hire people people.
In telling the truth, Baum urges businesses to admit when mistakes are made and to proactively work to fix the problem(s). To build a values-based culture, Baum says business must first define what the culture of the company is and then, put it in writing by crafting a cultural contract (i.e. cultural mission statement) which all employees are expected to live by. For a company to live its cultural contract, Baum contends companies need to hire people people who have just as much character and integrity as they have credentials and experience.
The book does take on a pedantic and preachy tone at times, but the easy-to-read quality and usefulness of Baums blueprint for how to build a transparent organization overrides any such shortcomings.
If you have any responsibility in setting the direction, the integrity, and the culture of your company read this book. You will not only be a smarter and better business person for reading it, you will be a smarter and better person for reading it.
reviewer quick bio: johnmoore has made his mark in the marketing world at Starbucks Coffee and Whole Foods Market by using creativity, big picture thinking, and liberal doses of levity to solve marketing problems.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.