It's time to reinvent management. You can help.
In 1973, Peter Drucker stated in his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices , "Management is not culture-free, that is, part of the world of nature. It is a social function. It is, therefore, both socially accountable and culturally embedded." Tom Peters some thirteen years later in an...
Blog by Dan Pontefract on July 15, 2013
Never before has leadership been so critical, and never before has it seemed in such short supply. That's why we're delighted to announce the Leaders Everywhere Challenge today. The second leg of the 2012-13 HBR/McKinsey M-Prize calls for real-world case studies and bold hacks that demonstrate how we can dramatically expand the leadership capacity of all of our organizations by both redistributing power in a way that gives many more individuals an opportunity to lead, and equipping and energizing people to lead even when they lack formal authority.
As a reverse fairy tale for the CEO set, the reality television program Undercover Boss is fascinating, not so much in the witness-to-a-train- wreck mode of the rest of the genre, but because it is so revealing of our conflicted relationship with "the boss." The premise of the show—that the only way to get a clue about what's really going on in his (or her) organization, is for the boss to go undercover on the front lines—is all too often the actual reality in organizations of any size. Yet, at the same time, the view of the boss as the ultimate authority with the heroic power to swoop in and save the day—whether that means paying down a mortgage, granting an instant promotion, or banishing a reviled policy—holds sway in real life as well as on "reality" TV.
Blog by Polly LaBarre on March 5, 2012
We live in a world where never before has leadership been so necessary but where so often leaders seem to come up short. Our sense is that this is not really a problem of individuals; this is a problem of organizational structures—those traditional pyramidal structures that demand too much of too few and not enough of everyone else.
Blog by Gary Hamel on May 24, 2013
Here is a tricky question: How many living management gurus can you name who did not learn their trade in North America? I have asked many colleagues this question, and it's pretty hard to come up with a good list. For example, consider the individuals in last year's "Thinkers 50" ranking list. By...
Blog by Julian Birkinshaw on October 26, 2011
For all of the time spent chasing after what looks like success, too many of us have only a dim sense of what it feels like. That's clearly a wide-spread cultural malady, but it acquires special force in the world of work. Organizations invest billions annually on a success curriculum known as "leadership development," which ends up leaving so much on the table. Training and development programs almost universally focus factory-like on inputs and outputs—absorb curriculum, check a box; learn a skill, advance a rung; submit to assessment, fix a problem. Likewise, they leave too many people behind with an elite selection process that fast-tracks "hi-pots" and essentially discard the rest. And they leave most people cold with flavor of the month remedies, off sites, immersions, and excursions—which produce little more than a grim legacy of fat binders gathering dust on shelves.
Blog by Polly LaBarre on December 19, 2011
The model of the single powerful leader who operates through command and control is attractive in its simplicity. This model of leadership often gets reinforced in the media, as well as by demanding shareholders. In reality, it is impractical to expect the single leader to have all the answers, and...
Blog by Terri Kelly on April 8, 2010
In the years ahead, any leader who hopes to have followers will need to carefully examine the foundations of their own authority. Why? Because we live in a world where the effectiveness of positional power is rapidly diminishing—at least outside of prisons and elementary schools. Thanks to Enron,...
Blog by Gary Hamel on September 28, 2010
I’ll bet you know a natural leader. Maybe you are one. Maybe you’re a mom who started a support group for the parents of children with special needs. Maybe you’re a concerned citizen who mobilized a group of preservation-minded neighbors to halt the destruction of a venerable old building. Maybe...
Blog by Gary Hamel on May 20, 2011
The need to empower natural leaders isn’t an HR pipedream, it’s a competitive imperative. But before you can empower them, you have to find them. In most companies, the formal hierarchy is a matter of public record—it’s easy to discover who’s in charge of what. By contrast, natural leaders don’t...
Blog by Gary Hamel on June 27, 2011

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