Gary Hamel is a Visiting Professor of Strategic and International Management of the London Business School, co-Founder of international consulting company Strategos and Director of the Management Innovation Lab. He is the author of several business books, such as Leading the Revolution, Competing for the Future (with C.K. Prahalad) and numerous articles for Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and other class-leading publications. This book was published in 2007, consists of 4 parts and a total of 11 chapters. Hamel's books are never boring and this one is almost as radical as `Leading the Revolution'. This fact is highlighted in Hamel's introduction of the goal of this book: "My goal is to help you become a 21st-century management pioneer; to equip you to reinvent the principles, processes, and practices of management for our postmodern age."
The three chapters of Part I explain why management innovation matters, whereby the author argues that modern-day management has evolved rapidly in the first half of the 20th century but that the "technology" of management has now reached a local peak rather than a 8,000 metres Himalaya monster. "In fact, most of the essential tools and techniques of modern management were invented by individuals born in the 19th century, not long after the end of the American Civil War." In the second chapter, Hamel explains management innovation: "Put simply, management innovation changes the way managers do what they do, and also does so in a way that enhances organizational performance." Chapter 3 proposes an agenda for management innovation, whereby one is "going to need a passion for some very specific, very noble challenge" in order to invent the future of management. It is "a passion for solving extraordinary problems that creates the potential for extraordinary accomplishment."
Part II - Management Innovation in Action's chapters 4, 5 and 6 explain Whole Foods Market, W.L. Gore and Google as examples of management innovators. This part serves the author's goal "to demonstrate that it really is possible to defy management orthodoxy and still run a successful business; that you can flout conventional management wisdom and still ship products on time, satisfy exacting customers, and deliver mouthwatering results. Turns out, we haven't reached the end of management. We really can reinvent the way big companies are structured and run. ... So no more excuses. It's time for you to buckle down and start inventing the future of management."
In the first chapter of Part III - Imaging the Future of Management, we come across the search for better ways to emancipate and compound human capability, whereby all of these searches start with simplest of all questions, Why? In Chapter 7 Hamel introduces five key design rules for building companies that are fit for the future. "... the task of reinventing management for the 21st century is going to take time. But what you can and must do is to get your colleagues thinking and talking about the opportunity to reinvent your company's management DNA." The next chapter introduces some new management principles, which combine big ideas with the power to inspire dramatic changes in tradition-bound processes and practices. Chapter 9 concludes this part and helps you extract maximum value out of your journey to the fringe. The author introduces 6 questions for this purpose.
The first chapter of Part 4 - Building the Future of Management recaps the 9 rules for management innovators. The final chapter introduces the 5 essential building blocks for management innovation, whereby the goal [of management of innovation] is for companies to gain a performance advantage by first amplify and then aggregate human effort. Hamel concludes this book with: "Indeed, I think the most bruising contests in the new millennium won't be fought along the lines that separate one competitor or business ecosystem from another, but will be fought along the lines that separate those who wish to preserve the privileges and power of the bureaucratic class from those who hope to build less structured and less tightly managed organizations."
Yes, I do like this book. It is just like the other books (co-)written by Gary Hamel and challenges the reader. This book in particular requires the reader to have a good look at existing management and business practices and see whether these can be done in a radical new innovative manner. But be warned, this exercise to reinvent management for the 21st century is going to take time and can probably best be started through thinking and talking with colleagues. Recommended to all looking for new ways to do business and manage.