TOUCH: Five Factors to Growing and Leading a Human Organization by Tod MaffinTOUCH: Five Factors to Growing and Leading a Human Organization by Tod Maffin

TOUCH: Five Factors to Growing and Leading a Human Organization

byTod Maffin, Mark Blevis

Paperback | October 4, 2014

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In today's technology-led pursuit of efficiency, we've removed the humanity from business. Here's how to correct that.

For better or worse, digital business has fundamentally changed how organizations hire staff, market their services, and connect with stakeholders. The problem is, in an effort to use technology to connect with people more effectively, we have lost the humanity - that critical person-to-person connection - that is the engine of commerce:

  • Hiring is done by automated keyword searches.
  • Offices have regressed to sterile, highly controlled environments.
  • Staff rely exclusively on template responses.
  • Websites are designed for search engines, not people.
  • Leaders are focusing on arbitrary and antiquated "best practices."

In a world filled with complicated web forms and digital marketing services, we have lost the "human" element in how we run our organizations. TOUCH identifies these problems in stark terms, then provide business leaders in all types of organizations - private to public sector, small to enterprise business - with real-world, tested solutions.

Tod Maffin is president of engageQ Digital, a digital marketing firm specializing in creating human experiences for brands online. He speaks to more than forty conferences a year. He lives in Vancouver. Mark Blevis is president of, a firm that specializes in integrated digital communication and online reputation manageme...
Title:TOUCH: Five Factors to Growing and Leading a Human OrganizationFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.63 inPublished:October 4, 2014Publisher:DundurnLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1459728742

ISBN - 13:9781459728745

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A book for organizational leaders who see the need for change DISCLAIMER: I am a friend of one of the authors. I opened up "Touch" with a bit of trepidation. As a friend of one of the authors, I was worried that I'd have to tell him that I didn't like the book! Thankfully, that wasn't the case. First point: this is NOT a social media book. It is, however, a book about the impact of social media on organizations. And those impacts have been far-reaching. Blevis and Maffin attempt, in a relatively slim 250 pages, to help people within organizations -- companies, not-for-profits, government -- to try and keep or build a human-style voice in the wake of the change social media tools have wrought. So if you look at this book as a way of "learning" social media, you may be in for a disappointment. The first chapter is a letter, addressed to "Dear Leader" (not, I assume, Kim Jong-un). That should be your first clue that this isn't primarily a book for the social media practitioner, but for people occupying leadership roles within organizations (or, even better, people with the ambition to do so.) The authors then outline the "five factors" they see as key to building a human organization: Technology, Outcomes, Uniqueness, Clarity, and Humanity. Then, they go through a number of functions typical of most organizations (marketing, communications, HR, legal) and explain how to apply the "TOUCH" factors to those functions. Touch's greatest strength is its accessibility. Maffin and Blevis (undoubtedly with the assistance of their editor) have been able to write in clear, accessible, and ringing prose -- partially due to their work in podcasting and radio, which requires simple and powerful words. And as they skim through the topics (and even with 250 pages it's still a bit of a skim), that clarity and accessibility make it easy for the reader to stay with them. It's also strengthened by a broad range of case studies (many of which aren't the same tired ones that every book about marketing, communications, and social media of the last 10 years have cited -- Zappos and Gary Vaynerchuk are great, but there has to be more to the world than them!) that illustrate and amplify their points. Here's the problem -- or perhaps it's a challenge. Organizations move slowly, and change is difficult for individuals and groups -- often the larger the company the more inertia it carries. So while Touch provides a quick and concise sketch of ways in which to improve your company or organization, it's going to be far more difficult in most cases to actually EXECUTE these changes, and it will more than likely require major support and backing from the organization's leadership. This can often be hard to secure. So if you read Touch and find it engaging and inspiring, don't run in and try to change everything in your workplace in a week. Perhaps a better strategy would be to loan your copy to the boss. The revolution can wait until after she's read it and agrees. My fears were unfounded. I can tell my friend that his first book is one worth reading, sharing, and strongly recommending.
Date published: 2014-10-17

Editorial Reviews

"Evidence continues to mount that customers are more likely to do business with brands that behave well. From demonstrating you're serious about sustainability to every employee engaging in customer service, from producing content that genuinely helps people to finding third-party reports of great interactions with the company, mountains of research show that success increasingly depends on taking a human approach to business. Just in time, Tod Maffin and Mark Blevis have produced TOUCH, a concise, readable, and actionable guide to making sure your company has a soul. Of all the values a company should demonstrate in these days when power has shifted to the customer, humanity should be at the top of the list. Whether your organization has been hammered for its compassionless approach to business or you're just not satisfied with the degree of humanity already evident in your operations, you'll want to not just read, but use, TOUCH." - Shel Holtz, principal, Holtz Communication + Technology