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What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation

ISBN: 978-1-118-21908-9
280 pages
January 2012, Jossey-Bass
What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation (1118219082) cover image
This is not a book about one thing. It's not a 250-page dissertation on leadership, teams or motivation. Instead, it's an agenda for building organizations that can flourish in a world of diminished hopes, relentless change and ferocious competition.

This is not a book about doing better. It's not a manual for people who want to tinker at the margins. Instead, it's an impassioned plea to reinvent management as we know it—to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about capitalism, organizational life, and the meaning of work.

Leaders today confront a world where the unprecedented is the norm. Wherever one looks, one sees the exceptional and the extraordinary:

  • Business newspapers decrying the state of capitalism.
  • Once-innovative companies struggling to save off senescence.
  • Next gen employees shunning blue chips for social start-ups.
  • Corporate miscreants getting pilloried in the blogosphere.
  • Entry barriers tumbling in what were once oligopolistic strongholds.
  • Hundred year-old business models being rendered irrelevant overnight.
  • Newbie organizations crowdsourcing their most creative work.
  • National governments lurching towards bankruptcy.
  • Investors angrily confronting greedy CEOs and complacent boards.
  • Newly omnipotent customers eagerly wielding their power.
  • Social media dramatically transforming the way human beings connect, learn and collaborate.

Obviously, there are lots of things that matter now. But in a world of fractured certainties and battered trust, some things matter more than others. While the challenges facing organizations are limitless; leadership bandwidth isn't. That's why you have to be clear about what really matters now. What are the fundamental, make-or-break issues that will determine whether your organization thrives or dives in the years ahead? Hamel identifies five issues are that are paramount: values, innovation, adaptability, passion and ideology. In doing so he presents an essential agenda for leaders everywhere who are eager to...

  • move from defense to offense
  • reverse the tide of commoditization
  • defeat bureaucracy
  • astonish their customers
  • foster extraordinary contribution
  • capture the moral high ground
  • outrun change
  • build a company that's truly fit for the future

Concise and to the point, the book will inspire you to rethink your business, your company and how you lead.

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Preface ix

SECTION 1: Values Matter Now 1

1.1 Putting First Things First 3

1.2 Learning from the Crucible of Crisis 9

1.3 Rediscovering Farmer Values 25

1.4 Renouncing Capitalism's Dangerous Conceits 29

1.5 Reclaiming the Noble 35

SECTION 2: Innovation Matters Now 39

2.1 Defending Innovation 41

2.2 Cataloging the World's Greatest Innovators 45

2.3 Inspiring Great Design 55

2.4 Turning Innovation Duffers into Pros 61

2.5 Deconstructing Apple 73

SECTION 3: Adaptability Matters Now 83

3.1 Changing How We Change 85

3.2 Becoming an Enemy of Entropy 91

3.3 Diagnosing Decline 103

3.4 Mourning Corporate Failure 111

3.5 Future-Proofing Your Company 119

SECTION 4: Passion Matters Now 135

4.1 Exposing Management’s Dirty Little Secret 137

4.2 Putting Individuals Ahead of Institutions 145

4.3 Building Communities of Passion 153

4.4 Reversing the Ratchet of Control 163

4.5 Reinventing Management for the Facebook Generation 171

SECTION 5: Ideology Matters Now 179

5.1 Challenging the Ideology of Management 181

5.2 Managing Without Hierarchy 193

5.3 Escaping the Management Tax 207

5.4 Inverting the Pyramid 233

5.5 Aiming Higher 243

Appendix: The Half Moon Bay "Renegade Brigade" 259

Notes 261

Acknowledgments 267

About the Author 269

Index 271

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Noted business thinker and strategist Gary Hamel has been on the faculty of the London Business School for nearly thirty years. He is the founder of the California-based think-tank The Management Lab. His most recent initiative is The Management Innovation eXchange (www.managementexchange.com), a pioneering effort aimed at reinventing management by harnessing the power of open innovation. Hamel is the author of five books and numerous articles for the Harvard Business Review as well as the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and the Financial Times. He consults widely and has led change initiatives in some of the world's most prominent companies.
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