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October 25, 2007

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Future of Management

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:03 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Future of Management by Gary Hamel with Bill Breen, Harvard Business School Press, 288 pages, $26.95 Hardcover, September 2007, ISBN 9781422102503
Gary Hamel is a smart man. After he published his best selling book, co-authored with C.K. Prahalad, called Competing for the Future, I saw him speak to a bunch of booksellers at our annual convention, and trust me--this guy knows what he's talking about. He talked about business to a bunch of people who really dig pretty much anything but business, and he got a standing ovation after his presentation.
In the past I struggled with reading Hamel because it felt as though his books had not been written to me. I had a hard time reading and understanding them because I felt like I couldn't relate to the subject. But The Future of Management is a book about a subject I have lived with for quite awhile.
Hamel believes that along with operational and strategic and product innovation, management innovation is essential to going forward. He believes that:
What ultimately constrains the performance of your organization is not its business model, not its operating model, but its management model. Hence 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 post-modern age. I will argue that management innovation has a unique capacity to create a long-term advantage for your company, and I will outline the steps you must take to first imagine, and then invent, the future of management.

Gary Hamel is not afraid to make bold statements. He spends a big chunk of the first half of the book showing us how bad things currently are and how everything has changed but not the way we currently manage people. Then he gets to some really interesting stuff when he profiles Whole Foods, W.L.Gore and Google, shows how they became management innovators, and points out the benefits they received from this change.
Another part of the book I found truly useful was Hamel's discussion of "learning from the fringe," where, by going out on your own, "you can find amazing feats of 'organizing' and 'managing' that don't involve 'organizations' and managers.'" On the fringe, Hamel says, "you will see the shadow of the future."