"Communication across dramatically different cultures is too fragile and critical to be done only when people think about it or when one has time."
Depending on what problem you are trying to solve, this can be a pretty useful read. Kostner does a nice job of describing the issues inherent in building a communication culture in a high-growth company that is spread out geographically and culturally. But she is less successful than I would have liked in presenting actual, useful tools and tactics. There are better books on developing teamwork available today, but at least this one is easy to understand and good fun.
It is at its best in the section entitled "Make It Comfortable for People to Connect with You," in which former Tandem Computers ceo James Treybig is featured and quoted extensively. As someone who once did a lot of enjoyable business with Tandem, I found Treybig's comments enlightening and explanatory about why working with his firm was such a pleasure, and he has me wishing more people in leadership were like him.
A key quotation in Treybig's section is: "If you want [to build] a great company, people won't tell you what is wrong unless they trust you." There isn't much to dispute there, but why is it that so many leaders today do not exhibit willingness or apparent ability to engender this trust? Part of the problem, as Kostner subtly points out, is that the developmental experiences of business school-bred leaders have so much to do with business context and so little to do with working with people and other resources to reach desired goals. "We communicate with technology," says Treybig, "but you have to do beer blasts and town meetings so that people will (know and) like me, which will then make communication effective." Not a bad way to build a $10 billion global company.