future of management Book review starts Book review starts Book review starts Book review starts Book review starts

Author : Gary Hamel

As a brief summary, I think the book flap does the best job:

…Hamel argues that organizations need bold management innovation now more than ever. The current management model – centered on control and efficiency – no longer suffices in a world where adaptability and creativity drive business success.

For me, the book is about how the models used for management need to change to better match that of a world where creativity and adaptability drives business success. There are 4 parts to separate the book:

  • Why Management Innovation Matters
  • Management Innovation in Action
  • Imagining the Future of Management
  • Building the Future of Management

Why Management Innovation Matters

This first part looks at many reasons why management as it is practiced, is at risk to end and is falling behind our innovative and technology driven world. There are examples where innovation with management really enable a company to move forward and gain competitive advantage. These advantages include measureable examples from the past century where classic processes such as strategic planning, capital budgets, project management, reviews and promotional incentives have been pushed aside in favor of new areas:

  • Managing science
  • Allocating capital
  • Managing intangible assets
  • Capturing the wisdom of every employee
  • Building a global consortium

These are not without challenges and preparing an organization to be ready to adapt management innovation is a critical factor. 2 significant ways to accomplish this are listed as:

  • Make bold innovation everyone’s job
  • Allow and encourage everyone to participate and give their best

Management Innovation in Action

The Whole Foods Market company is detailed as an example where management innovation drove great success through development of a community purpose among all stores and employees. This was done through setting and holding new bold principles and standard, high level of employee accountability and incentives, and by getting rid of any preconceived or expected management techniques to allow new ideas to develop without criticism.

The next example is about W.L.Gore and its vision that brought about a $2.1 Billion company creating the well known Gore-Tex among many other products in 45 plants around the world. Gore flattened the organization eliminated the need for approvals and allocated 10% of all staff time to be used for creating new things and acting on new ideas.

No management innovation book would be complete without Google as as example and this book is no exception. Google is explored to show how they fully adopted a number of techniques to maximizes management innovation:

  • utilized the power of the internet
  • reinforced new bold management ideas without needing business degrees and education
  • that engaging all employees with few hierarchical boundaries
  • encouraging collaboration
  • dedicating 20% of time to use for creative new ideas maximizes management innovation

Imagining the Future of Management

Next, the shackles of old management principles are discussed and how to break free from these old ways. Embracing new principles by using diversity, democracy, flexibility, and meaning with all employees are the keys here. Also, the techniques to learn new ways are outlined which include democracies of ideas, amplifying imagination, implementing new learning methods, using collaborative involvement, asking for volunteers and by leveraging the wisdom of crowds.

Building the Future of Management

A few examples are explored again such as GE and IBM to demonstrate ways to build a new maangement model for the future. This is outlined as:

  • decentralizing
  • creating equal ground competition
  • allowing decisions to be peer based
  • giving free choice of work opportunities

All of these techniques look very much like the Web 2.0 revolution and the same advantages that the internet is experiencing from massive per person involvement is possible at a management level if some of the boundaries are removed and the environments are worked to let them expand and be creative. I personally love this style of management and got a lot of new idea son how to further involve my team and produce an environment to stimulate imagination, collaboration and ultimately drive more and more innovation. I definitely recommend this book to any manager or leader. It is especially useful in a technology based company where many of the concepts are visible in the technology and products being produced but has not yet transitioned into the day to day culture of the workplace and management team.



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