Organisations are incompetent and no longer good enough in a world where change is "shaken not stirred" one of the world's leading business thinkers said yesterday.

Siân Harrington , 07 Nov 2012


Gary Hamel, director of Management Innovation Exchange and the world's most influential business thinker according to the Wall Street Journal, said organisations were incompetent in so many ways it was like trying to get a dog to walk on its hind legs.

"When you give it a biscuit or treat it walks for a few minutes but when you turn your back it is back on four legs. This is because being a quadruped, not a biped, is in its DNA. Companies are the same," Hamel said.

Change in organisations is always on the margin or a reaction to crisis, he added. Both fail to address the deepest assumptions.

"We have to learn how to build organisations that have evolutionary advantages not competitive advantage at anyone time," he said.

Speaking at the CIPD's annual conference in Manchester, Hamel said the concept of management had been the most important social invention in the past 100 years but it was now a "busted flush", needing to be replaced and rebuilt from the bottom up in most companies.

"There is something in the way we manage our human resource that is not very resourceful. Organisations are characterised by an Existential vacuum. Management is the least value adding element in any organisation," he said. " The management model is toxic at its core."

He warned that the barriers to entry for disruptive companies were now broken and incumbent players in markets were no longer protected.

The consequence of all this is that organisations need to rethink their core principles.

"This is a historic opportunity. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution we cannot build an organisation fit for the future unless it is built fit for human beings. We need to make organisations as human as the people who work for them."

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Sales talk

Peter Rimmer 07 Nov 2012

Woukd you buy a used car off this man? So, why take his rubbishing remarks seriously?

One of the Worlds Leading Business Thinkers?s

Peter A Hunter 07 Nov 2012

If this man is a leading business thinker we have to assume that the writer of the article did not stay for the entire presentation. If all this man had to say was that "Management is the least value adding element in any organisation," or that "The management model is toxic at its core." He should return his fee because almost anybody who has ever been managed in a workforce could have told us that. It is to be hoped that Gary Hamel was quoted out of context and went on to explain to the delegates what they could do about it. Didn't he? Peter A Hunter

The Future of Management

stephen moreton 07 Nov 2012

The comments reported reflect Hamel's 2008 text 'The Future of Management'. Essentially the thrust of the book argues an organisation cannot be a 21st century success story if 19th century techniques are employed to run it – he proposes a fundamental rethink about the way management is approached. Hamel advocates throwing everything we think we know about management out of the window due to it being all out of date. He argues that although management techniques have achieved a good level of efficiency and productivity in the past, this has come at the expense of creativity and innovation. Hierarchy and discipline stifle innovation. Other snippets: "We must coordinate the efforts of thousands of individuals without creating a burdensome hierarchy of overseers to invent organisations where discipline and freedom aren't mutually exclusive." “You can’t build a company that’s fit for the future unless you build a company that’s fit for human beings…management that has been practiced over the last one hundred years has not been very human friendly. People are more innovative, more adaptable, more resilient and more engaging than your organisation is” “The ‘technology’ of management: the review meeting, the planning process, the budgeting, the control systems – they literally leach the adaptability and innovative thoughts out of people between the hours of 8 to 5.”

Now it makes Sense

Peter A Hunter 14 Nov 2012

Thank you Stephen your comments make a lot more sense than the partial understanding of the article. Peter A Hunter

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