The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

Jim Whitehurst

Language: English

Published: Jun 2, 2015


TODAY’S LEADERS KNOW THAT SPEED and agility are the keys to any company’s success, and yet many are frustrated that their organizations can’t move fast enough to stay competitive. The typical chain of command is too slow; internal resources are too limited; people are already executing beyond normal expectations. As the pace accelerates, how do you inspire people’s energy and creativity? How do you collaborate with customers, vendors, and partners to keep your organization on the cutting edge? What kind of organization matches the speed and complexity that businesses must master—and how do you build that organization?

Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, one of the world’s most revolutionary companies, shows how open principles of management—based on transparency, participation, and community—reinvent the organization for the fast-paced connected era. Whitehurst gives readers an insider’s look into how an open and innovative organizational model works. He shows how to leverage it to build community, respond quickly to opportunities, harness resources and talent both inside and outside the organization, and inspire, motivate, and empower people at all levels to act with accountability.

The Open Organization is a must-read for leaders struggling to adapt their management practices to the values of the digital and social age. Brimming with Whitehurst’s personal stories and candid advice for leading an open organization, as well as with instructive examples from employees and managers at Red Hat and companies such as Google, The Body Shop, and Whole Foods, this book provides the blueprint for reinventing your organization.



“CEO Jim Whitehurst's The Open Organization is the best business book of the year.” — Seeking Alpha (

ADVANCE PRAISE for The Open Organization:

MICHAEL DELL, Chairman and CEO, Dell—
“In The Open Organization, Jim Whitehurst clearly demonstrates how building avidly engaged communities of employees, partners, and customers can ignite the kind of passion and innovation that drive outsized results for businesses and for society as a whole. This is a great read for anyone hoping to lead and succeed in a society being redefined by expectations of transparency, authenticity, access—and yes, openness.”

CHRIS ANDERSON, Cofounder and CEO, 3D Robotics; former Editor in Chief, Wired magazine—
“In a wired world, everyone knows that management needs to change from ‘command and control’ to leadership based on transparency, collaboration, and participation. But the question is, how do you actually lead that way? Jim Whitehurst’s interesting tale of his own reinvention as a leader, with lessons from other leaders in companies such as Whole Foods, Pixar, and Zappos, finally provides the blueprint that leaders have been seeking.”

JEANIE DANIEL DUCK, Former Senior Partner and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group; author, The Change Monster
“Many people are wary of change. For executives who worry about Millennial employees and the power of the internet, it is scary indeed. Yet those same employees could offer valuable new perspectives, ideas, and passion. The question is, how do today’s managers capture those desirable attributes without setting off the perfect storm? The answers are in Jim Whitehurst’s book.”

CHARLENE LI, Founder and CEO, Altimeter Group; author, The Engaged Leader and Open Leadership
“In today’s disruptive economy, only the leaders—and their organizations—who are open and learn to adapt to the fast-changing needs of customers and employees will survive. Whitehurst speaks from personal experience about what works—and what doesn’t—to foster openness and speed. If you have even an inkling of a desire to lead an innovative, fast-moving, and engaged organization, this book is for you.”

JOHN CHAMBERS, Chairman and CEO, Cisco—
“With The Open Organization, Whitehurst takes us where all leaders need to be if we want to succeed in the future—outside of our traditional comfort zones.”

About the Author

JIM WHITEHURST is CEO of Red Hat, the largest open source software company in the world. Before joining Red Hat, Whitehurst held various positions at Delta Air Lines, most recently as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for operations, sales and customer service, network and revenue management, marketing, and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Delta, he was a Partner at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and held various leadership roles in BCG’s Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Atlanta offices.