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Reinventing Management: Smarter Choices for Getting Work Done Hardcover – April 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


‘…a stimulating new book…' (, May 2010) “This book equips readers with a framework to start getting better at making smarter choices as to how they organise and manage." (Director, March 2010). “…a thoughtful, practical and readable tour that encourages the reader to reflect on the prosaic role of sleeves-rolled-up management" (Management Today, March 2010). ‘…issues both a practical outline of novel management approaches…and a rallying cry: Put leadership and management back on equal footing.' (Harvard Business Review, July/August 2010). ‘He discusses important issues and provides invaluable insights and suggestions that can help to develop a distinctive management model'. (Professional Manager, September 2010) ‘…this book is a major contribution to efforts at re-igniting the debate on the way we do things at work.' (People Management, September 2010). ‘This is an excellent, absorbing and thought provoking book. A must read'. (Edge, September 2010).

From the Inside Flap

Reinventing Management:
  1. argues that we need to recapture the essence of management: we need to start making smarter choices in how we get work done through other people. Management is a central driver of economic activity, and arguably even more important in today's economic climate than ever.
  2. develops the concept of a firm's Management Model: the deliberate choices made by top executives on four key dimensions: how they set objectives, motivate people, coordinate activities and make decisions. Too often companies subconsciously adopt the same Management Model as their competitors. But when developed carefully, a Management Model can become one of your key drivers of competitive advantage.
  3. helps you to make smarter choices in each of the four key dimensions of management. A traditional, hierarchical approach to decision making has its limitations, but so does tapping into the collective wisdom of your employees. The book explores the pros and cons of each set of choices, to help you develop a distinctive Management Model that can be become the basis for your firm's long-term success.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470750111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470750117
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,771,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on July 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You can tell that we are living in times of transition, as there are a plethora of books out concerning management and economic fundamentals. Julian Birkinshaw's new book Reinventing Management is one of them. The books premise is that having an effective management model makes all of the difference for companies regardless of the challenges they face. Birkinshaw uses examples ranging from Lehman Brothers to GM to Proctor and Gamble to help illustrate his point. These examples are helpful and appear throughout the book.

Birkinshaw defines a management model as consisting of four levels and two options across each of these levels. A management model can therefore be described as the choices between degrees of :

Bureaucracy and emergence in terms of how you manage across in terms of activities
Hierarchy and collective wisdom in terms of how you manage down and make decisions
Alignment and obliquity in terms of managing objectives
Extrinsic versus intrinsic in terms of managing individual motivation

I agree with Birkinshaw's points that your management model matters and many of the dimensions of the model make still further sense. The book does a good job of going through these four levels and the choices contained within them. The choices and examples are clear and strong. But they are not particularly revolutionary. In my opinion this book is a better read than Henry Mintzberg's recent book Managing, but both books seems to be more of a restatement of traditional management challenges than recognizing that managing is changing. Some of that could be because of the style of both books.

The book is mechanical in its nature and writing style.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kim C. Korn on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The cult of leadership won't solve the challenges companies are facing today. Companies require management innovation to overcome years of neglecting management as a critical aspect of a vital company.

Julian Brikinshaw defines for us what management needs to be in order for companies to compete effectively, evolve over time, and thrive in the long term. The first sentence of the book simultaneously reveals what it's about while challenging corporate leaders - "...what management is, why it's important, and how you can generate competitive advantage for your company by taking it seriously."

The ongoing tumult in the business world has finally exposed the weaknesses resulting from an overall lack of serious attention to management. As Birkinshaw points out, management can and should be reinvented to be a more effective agent of economic progress while better meeting the needs of employees.

His four dimensions of management dealing with activities, decisions, objectives, and motivation provide for making a simple yet comprehensive model for management. But unlike too many advocates of their particular solution or framework, this model is not the prescription, but the means for discovering your company's best management solution.

First, your company's management model needs to be explicitly defined to develop an internal awareness of its management as is. Next is to innovate its way of managing, configuring it for the unique context of your company. This makes your company's management model distinctive to serve as a means of developing competitive advantage.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DM on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As we look around us, 20th C regimes, institutions and businesses are failing. It seems everyone is writing a book on management needs to change. A few stand out, at least for me (see below for my recommendations). Julian Birkinshaw, co-founder of The Management Lab with Gary Hamel, has a new book, "Reinventing Management: Smarter Choices for Getting Word Done" that is clearly one of the best. Most of the books today paint an `either/or' picture - the "old way" is bad, the "new way" (their way) is good. Few have any middle ground; it's all or nothing, an impractical, unrealistic posture. Julian's approach is integrative - it is not `either/or', it is `and/both/other' - it provides a path, not a flash cut.

The book starts with a sharp, clear analysis of why things went wrong, using Lehman Brothers & GM. He shows the contrast in failure between a company that was cavalier (Lehman) and a company that was blind, not realizing the competencies that had made it successful became the liabilities killing it now.

Julian defines management as the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives - it's social!! How ripe for evolution given the social networking aspect of 21st Century business! Today's key resource is knowledge flow, again social. Bottom line for the 21st C? Management needs to get back to its core function - of enabling instead of commanding.

Several ways for management to get back to its core purpose are described - all integrating some of the old with the new, providing a transition and path to reinvent management:

* Getting People Together: Give guiding structures to stimulate individuals to self-organize - allowing increasing freedom and transparency to your people within and across business units.
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