Glen, Paul (Michael) 1965-

views updated

GLEN, Paul (Michael) 1965-


Born March 10, 1965, in Chicago, IL; son of Marren Jay and Ann (Elcrat) Glen. Education: Cornell University, B.A., 1988; Northwestern University, M.B.A. (marketing, organizational behavior, and strategy), 1991.


Office—3253 Malcolm Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034; fax: 310-694-0451. E-mail—[email protected].


Management consultant and educator. SEI Information Technology, Chicago, IL, consultant, 1988-95, Los Angeles, CA, regional manager, 1995-99; C2 Consulting, Marina Del Rey, CA, founder, 1999—. Taught at the University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University.


Institute of Management Consultants, American Society for Training and Development, Academy of Management, and National Speakers Association.


getAbstract Business and Finance Book Prize, Financial Times (Germany), 2003, for Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology.


Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology ("Warren Bennis Signature" series), Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 2003.

Author of monthly column for Computerworld.


Paul Glen drew on his own experience in the world of management, marketing, and software and hardware development when writing Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology. Glen, who on his Web site is described as "a self-proclaimed geek," dismisses the stereotypes typically associated with geeks and instead notes the qualities found in developers that are essential to performing the kinds of tasks expected of them. He advises on the management of people who despise meetings and who don't particularly like to be managed by managers who usually know less than they do. Glen includes a twelve-part model that demonstrates how "knowledge workers" contribute to an organization.

In an interview posted at ZDnet online, Glen said that he would define a geek as anyone who works on the technical side of IT (information technology). He added, "When geeks perceive that someone in their work environment is ineffective due to incompetence or aberrant behavior, they have a tendency to dismiss that person completely. They also take great pride in their work and take criticism personally. If a manager says a particular interface makes no sense, he has to understand that's like telling a geek his child is ugly. They put extraordinary effort into the creative solution of a technical or business problem, and they take it personally if that solution is criticized."

A reviewer for London-based Information Age noted that the use of the word geek is more acceptable in the United States, where there is a kind of pride in being categorized as such, whereas in England, the term has negative connotations. The reviewer said of the book that "at times, it is an almost anthropological text, detailing the many apparent differences between the rules and mindset of 'normal' society and the geek sub-tribe; it also explains how the apparently egalitarian geek society has its own hierarchy and politics that can be understood and molded."

Glen makes the point that because geeks are the people who deliver innovation and support it, a manager would be wise to adapt his style to theirs. Geeks tend to be unimpressed by power, are task-oriented, and work best in an environment that is orderly and efficient.

Paul B. Brown reviewed Leading Geeks in CIOInsight, commenting that "it should come as no surprise that they [geeks] hate ambiguity in any guise. But it's no use saying, 'Too bad. By definition, business is riddled with ambiguity, paradoxes, and contradictions, and the geeks just have to learn to adjust.' Instead, Glen argues, managers must take a different approach, constantly showing techies how their work fits into the bigger picture."

A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Glen provides "ample material on what works with geeks and what doesn't," and deemed his advice "easily readable" and "exceptionally useful."



CIOInsight, November 2, 2002, Paul B. Brown, review of Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology.

Information Age (London, England), September 10, 2003, review of Leading Geeks.

Publishers Weekly, October 21, 2002, review of Leading Geeks, p. 63.


C2 Consulting, (April 8, 2004).

Paul Glen Home Page, (October 24, 2003).

ZDnet, (June 26, 2003), interview with Paul Glen.