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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Following on from the themes that he aired in The Future of Management, Hamel argues again that we are clinging too long to a model of management that was designed for the manufacturing revolution started by people like Henry Ford; a revolution that depended on standardisation, efficiency and control. The problem, argues Hamel, is that the efficiency that these great and hugely successful machines require rubs against the grain of what humans do best. Reminding us of the remarkable fact that in 1890 in America, nine out of ten white males worked for themselves, Hamel points out that the inevitable result of industrialisation was that `unruly and independent-minded farmers, artisans and day-labourers had to be transformed into rule-following, forelock-tugging employees.' And we are still at it today, `working hard to strap rancorous and free-thinking human beings into the straightjacket of corporate obedience, conformity and discipline.Read more ›
What Matters Now treats the reader as an intelligent, concerned and reflective professional rather than a mindless consumer of business advice. The result is a book that is as refreshing as it is provocative.
Highly recommended, not as a path to success, but as a guide for personal reflection on the state of business, leadership and what can be possible if only we decide to make it so.
Hamel covers a wide range of subjects in 25 tightly written chapters from morality of business leaders and their failure in the financial crisis to new views on innovation, management, participation and the impact of technology on the way we work. The book is divided into four sections:
Section 1: Values Matter Now addressing the failure of values and its consequences coming out of the global financial crisis.
Section 2: Innovation Matters Now covering the need for greater innovation, focus on design and recognizing the personal challenges and rewards for innovation. Chapter 2.4 on turning innovation duffers into pros offers the most realistic view on why innovation is hard that I have read in a long time.
Section 3: Adaptability Matters Now provides a view of the nature of change, the forces driving it and the rewards associated with creating more adaptable and engaging organizations.Read more ›
To start, I want to note that Hamel is not just a crazy populist off the street – he was a visiting professor at HBS/London Business School, writes for the WSJ, started Strategios (a mediocre management consulting firm) and has been highly regarded by Forbes. I am, personally, a Theory-Y proponent (albeit not as radical as him). Between Hamel’s background and the strong support for this book on Amazon, I was expecting a great book. I was very disappointed, and I am really shocked that this author was a professor at Harvard. Overall, Hamel does provide useful high-level advice and a decent framework, but his advice is clouded in dogmatic ideological opinions and not fleshed out well. He spends most of the book on his ideological high-horse chastising current management structures and very little time arguing with data/research or showing detailed implementations of his ideas. Many of his statements that were made to be factual could be challenged or were just wrong. (e.g.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I use Dr. Hamel's works as a teaching tool. 21st Century management and business strategy at its best.Published 14 months ago by Tinlizzie
Gary was a mentor at London Business School. His best book yet. Very timely and much needed. Should be required reading for all executives, entrepreneurs, leaders and managers.Published 14 months ago by Steven W. Bell
I loved the audio book, Gary's presentation style is very intuitive, keeps you highly engaged and every now and then he has these witty comments that poke fun at the mediocrity of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by K. Byrns
Great view on what makes companies and people who run them, so successful.Published 19 months ago by Joyce Chan