Product differentiation is important. Improving services and relations with consumers is also important. But as much as gaining competitive advantage is quite the trick to becoming a successful company, a more compelling and inspiring action is required. Something else unique that helps calibrate the standards of success today. How about management innovation? Gary Hamel writes in his book The Future of Management about how managers often overlook the importance of constantly improving management systems. As humans (in business settings), we are prone to oblige to tasks given to us by our bosses. Well, that’s how traditional companies ran: Theory Y. You’re given something to do; you do it; you get paid; the cycle goes on and on again. But today, consumer patterns are unpredictable and if businesses don’t adopt new methods immediately, they’ll be out of luck.
Hamel focuses on three companies as examples to prove how significant innovation management is including: WL Gore (the company that makes i.e. Gore-tex), Whole Foods, and Google. Unlike conventional companies where hierarchy is inflexible, these companies have a flat hierarchy structure where communication is more effectively done between the top level guys and their employees. They also invite their employees to solve problems. That’s right- company crises are not limited to executive levels. So, how will tomorrow’s most successful companies be organized and managed? Hamel challenges us to ask some intriguing questions about management throughout this book. Diversity begets creativity. The mission matters. And distributed leadership is crucial to forming a stronger community. Although I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t like reading too many business books, Hamel’s stands out a tad bit from others because so many of us forget to question the structure of management. Innovation management goes beyond mere training programs, communication skills, etc. If developed correctly, it could definitely be a competitive advantage.
dee’s recommendation: 4/5