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What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation Hardcover – Bookmark Calendar, February 1, 2012
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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.
An impassioned plea to reinvent management as we know it. (innovationexcellence.com, March 2012) The book is bang up to date highlights recent crises and what we can learn from them (CPO Agenda, April 2012) A thought provoking and relevant book for our time that should inspire change, even if it doesn t prescribe it. (economia.com, April 2012) An interesting and thought provoking read for HR and finance directors. (HR Magazine, April 2012) Plenty to feed those with an appetite for change. (CA Magazine, April 2012) A rarity among business books, What Matters Now has an entertaining, anecdotal style that does nothing to diminish the visionary authority with which Hamel speaks . (I: Global Intelligence for the CIO, April 2012) The book is bang up to date highlights recent crises and what we can learn from them. (CPO Agenda, April 2012) 'Probably one of the most important books you could read this year an invitation to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about capitalism. (Leadership Now, May 2012)
Top customer reviews
Gary is a deep thinker and, in my view, a great writer. Unlike others, he doesn't write to a fifth grade reading level. He's trying to raise people's sights, not pander to the lowest common denominator. The ideas in this are both broad and big. They're not all original, although a few are. The real importance is not whether the ideas are original, but rather the framework which Gary places each idea within. The three in-depth examples (starting on page 233) of how companies turned the organizational pyramid on its head are incredibly insightful and very thought-provoking.
This book isn't about incremental change, it's about helping people think through big, thorny issues. To me Gary is one part futurist, one part idealist, and one part pragmatist. This book reflects that.
Bill Wiersma, Author--The Big AHA and The Power of Professionalism (2011)
In "What Matter's Now," Gary raises this to a whole new level, not just making a case for corporate survival, but threading the current reality of our socio-economic systems into a compelling argument for how those corporations fit into the broader landscape of social institutions that are all horribly broken.
For me, "What Matter's Now" was a sweeping essay exploring the premise that although we collectively "owe our prosperity to innovation," much of what we now do undermines that very prosperity (e.g "If life had adhered to Six Sigma rules, we'd still be slime."). He helps us consider where we can fit in as part of the innovation solution (e.g. `rockets, laureates, artistes or cyborgs), and furthermore how to create pro-innovation management processes to make real things happen. Proposed solutions are not so much a recipe, as an exploration of concepts to expand or challenge conventional thinking.
In the end, "What's Matter's Now" did an excellent job of painting a coherent context for the role of corporate innovation in the 21st Century economy, and has given me many new thoughts on how we can create institutions that are a big win for everyone. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to be a force for positive change in a corporate environment.
In "What Matters Most" Gary Hamel provides, what I believe, to be the best argument regarding workplace change, leadership, management innovation and sustainability that I've ever come across in a long time. The book equips us with the tools and current myth-shattering strategies to build organizations that will be fit for the future and fit for human beings! Gary articulates incredible courage (the most important attribute of leadership in my way of thinking and lacking with other authors) in tackling our organizations' most de-humanizing and horrific qualities. For too long our orgs have been positionally led by small-minded, fear-wielding, self-serving, "bought and sold" compliance officers, spirit-diminishing gatekeepers, and "image over substance" control freaks. Today's work needs to get done by people without positional power. We need a new type of manager who is able to build a workplace environment that ellicits the best out of people...capabilities such as initiative, creativity, and passion.
One highlight of the book I found most interesting/useful is Gary's construct regarding the "hierarchy of capabilities." Gary's insights are remarkable!
This book is about serving the greater good, about designing workplaces that are human-friendly and not machine-like, about invigorating, engaging, growing and sustaining the soul of every employee so that employees WANT to do their best rather than HAVE to do a job. The values espoused in this book are needed more than ever.
Thank you, Gary Hamel, for your imaginative genius and writing the most relevant book of the 21st Century!
Other books I would recommend as companion pieces are: "Credibility" by Kouzes and Posner and "Great by Choice" by Collins and Hansen.