Gary Hamel, one of the world's pre-eminent business thinkers, demonstrates why last century's management theories-- developed more than a hundred years ago during the Industrial Revolution--are entirely wrong for managing today's successful organizations. He shows how yesterday's top-down bureaucratic management models designed to keep employees under control no longer work and how one-way, top-down communications are over.
We've seen how social networks like Twitter and Facebook enable wired citizens to rally crowds, gain global attention, and topple established political systems. We've seen the world change with the Arab Spring. If we don't find a better way to create more transparent, authentic and meaningful relationships with customers and employees, a Corporate Spring and a CEO Spring will be next.
Now, organizations of all sizes can access Gary's innovative ideas to bring business management into the future. Through case studies of forward-thinking companies like W.L. Gore, the company that makes Gore-Tex fabrics, Hamel illustrates the power of principles that center around autonomy and freedom, instead of command-and-control. Hamel illuminates how bold new models that encourage meritocracy--and identify the individual contributors who are actually driving innovations within an organization--will be the norm for successful companies moving forward.
This is a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed in today's world. Many fear change--after all, change is hard--but the world always spins forward and we must embrace change or the world will move on without us. Most of all, we have an incredible opportunity--as well as a responsibility-to redefine management for the next generation and transform our businesses into social enterprises that will be more competitive, more innovative and more successful than ever before possible.
Q&A with Author Gary Hamel
This book is different than previous books you have done. Why this book – why now?
There are a variety of unprecedented changes in the business environment, change continues to accelerate, trust is shaken, and competition is fierce: there is a raft of new competitors.
Organizations are not up to challenges ahead. There are many. The right thing to do was to NOT write a book about one thing – but instead offer 5 levers – and one person's point of view of how to work those levers.
What did you find surprising in writing this book?
Maybe not surprising – but a little shocking – was that despite magnitude of challenges that organizations face, including a dismal economy, most organizations are still fiddling at the margins.
A typical business book looks at companies doing something right at the moment…or companies that screw up. In times of environmental stress and change you have to challenge not only practices but principles. You must challenge fundamental assumptions about how organizations work. Frankly, I don't know of any organizations that are up to the challenges that lie ahead. This book is for people who want to get out in front; it is an agenda for people who want to lead.
Who has most influenced your thinking in the past ten to fifteen years?
Kevin Kelly and his book Out of Control (it came out in 1995.) He helped us understand how social life forms on the web and how that will, and has, affected us all.
Chris Rufer, President of Morningstar, is in the book. His company has demonstrated that you can run complex organizations without any hierarchical structure. I had believed it could be true …but now know it is true.
Out of every critical issue out there now for leaders/managers/workers to focus on what is the one most people should start with?
Values. Every CEO will tell you that they want to an organization that builds superior results. But is values that will get you there. Values need to be transcendental rather than venal. Look at Apple: beauty, ease of use… versus the investment banks and their short term monetary gain for a few. People are rightfully calling capitalism to account. I understand the anger people have. I laugh when a CEO says he wants a "values driven organization" because the organization already is! The question is what values are in the driver's seat already.
What do you hope readers ultimately "get" out of this book?
The responsibility of any business author is to be profound and practical. I want to read things that challenge my convention…my mental models. I also like to spend time talking with CEOs and managers. Ultimately you have to build a bridge between new ideas and the everyday realities. That is my goal.