Earning Your Place in the Market

[YouTube, 16:14']

How do we build organizations that are fit for the future? And how do we build them so that they're fit for human beings?

In this content-packed video business strategist Gary Hamel talks about reverse accountability, reinventing the technology of human accomplishment, and using that as the lever to make businesses more resilient and enduring.

It is time to radically rethink how businesses mobilize people and organize resources to productive ends.

Hamel argues that management was one of the world-changing inventions of the last 100 years. It was revolutionary when it was ideated. Yet, in the face of the enormous challenges businesses currently face, from hyper competition to earning one's place in the market every day, management has hardly changed at all.

In a best-practices world where knowledge has become a commodity, where change is unrelenting, organizations need to reinvent the way they hire, lead, plan, implement, motivate — all of those things that make mobilizing people toward a common set of goals possible.

This makes business competitive, and inspires people to create. Even better, innovate. If you've ever worked in a firm where you could bring your whole self to work with you, you know what that feels like. It's liberating to have room for creativity and invention.

Now, before you go ahead and proclaim social media as the answer, I'd like you to pause and think about the question for a moment. It's not better marketing, it's not hiring by keywords and degrees (sadly, often also the product of clever marketing), it's not about how many friends and followers a brand has, either.

It's about performance, concentrated focus, and doing better deals, yes. Those are all outcomes of organizations that are more adaptable, innovative, and creative. Think about knowledge as memory — and memory is cheap, you can get it (almost) for free today. 

What you need is clock speed. This is beyond the ability to learn faster, as Hamel says in the video. It's about making connection with meaning. Businesses that become more engaging places to work will win. It's about bringing the human resilience, strength, and endurance back into the business.

So how much is your brand worth to a fan? The calculation starts on the inside. Are your people able to being their gifts of creativity and inventiveness to work every day? Hamel has some advice for managers:

  1. innovate, best practices are not good enough anymore
  2. challenge dogma (it was invented to turn human beings into robots)
  3. learn from the fringe

A short two days ago, we talked about the Peter Principle for business, and the example of a company that is having difficulty with those three points. Here's another story of a culture that didn't make room for creativity and innovation, where persuading leadership was a losing battle.

Most of you have had similar experiences, of that I am sure. We need to build better businesses — business that earn their place in the market.


[hat tip Paul Isakson]

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0 responses to “Earning Your Place in the Market”

  1. Do you think Peter has basically explained why most people are dissatisfied with their jobs? For me I could hear dozens of conversations with management about innovative changes only to be told, “No” or “We’ll have to get approval from higher up.” It seems so clear once you hear Peter explain the irrelevance our current best practices.I also like how you explained the need for clock speed. I agree there is a huge value for customers when companies allow their employees to bring their gifts to work. Motivated employees are empowered. In turn, empowered employees can deliver excellent service to customers. Seems to simple yet so difficult to reach. Thank you for sharing such an insightful post!

  2. I love this video, particularly the reference to the upside-down pyramid format. (The visuals behind Mr. Hamel are also first-rate, imo.)
    Worth sharing over and over again.

  3. Most people bring their gifts to work.
    The challenge is to recognise the gifts that can be traded for value within a strong and resilient business composition ( that’s where the business model meets the real market).
    More importantly you don’t build a business model around gifts,. Gift walk in and out of companies. You build a business model around gifts – recognise them, evaluate the ones that work and don’t work for that business, securitise them and trade them over and over.
    The first is a memory business. The second is about clock speed.
    Hamel makes me feel a little sad.
    Neither innovation or best practices are not good enough anymore ( but for very different reasons) – it is the value of your promise and the wisdom of the trade that earns your place in the market. There is a conversation before innovation and best practice that is needed.
    challenge dogma ( management was invented to turn human beings into robots) – this statement is dogma in its own right ( I can say innovation was invented to transfer $ from businesses to consultants). Of course, neither statement is all true or all false. Forget challenging – do and let those who do not label it as challenging or contrarian. For you its just business.
    learn from the fringe. The fringe is a bit like the future and, to paraphrase Pascal, don’t wander about in business model that doesn’t belong to you. The best place to learn how to become strong, more resilient and enduring is to learn what you haven’t yet realised about your business.
    Having said he makes me sad, I think I like Gary Hamel as a person. I’ve never met him but he comes across as a good person who cares. ‘
    The strange thing is that when listening to Hamel the memory of my parish priest returned after 30 years. A nice fellow who went on about humanities salvation from the perils of progress by adopting the ways of the church. I stopped going to church. I think it was because I concluded I could not learn from the priest, all I could do was listen. The learning was up to me and would be hard thought over the next 30 years.
    Perhaps we all need to stop going to church when it comes to business and start doing some hard thinking for ourselves.
    Always fun ( if not easy).

  4. This is what I was thinking:
    You don’t build a business models around gifts. You trade gifts through business models.

  5. yes, I actually understood where you were going with this. It’s what I find incomplete or unsatisfying with the comments part of online exchanges and why I like conversation. Conversation is a tool to make up your own mind about something by thinking together.
    Indeed, always a pleasure, Peter.

  6. do you think this sort of thing is helpful in getting you to think about what you need to do, or does it provide something interesting to watch?
    I’m not being funny, I wonder myself as I push my own presentation to be much more. Should people feel comfortable and content, or should they get a sense of urgency from a presentation?

  7. I think Hamel is a great entertainer and there is a market for this form of cerebral entertainment.
    Why I sense of urgency? I don’t understand this.
    How about a sense of beauty in ideas and language that are both awe inspiring and frightening in their honest appraisal of the human at work.
    For example, Hamel’s line that change is changing is a bit like a cognitive strap line working our fear of losing touch with the present.
    I could equally apply the change is changing line to describe the slowness of change now when compared with the previous two centuries. For example, the leap from no electricity to electricity, horse to combustion engine, death to antibiotics, etc are the benchmarks of the experience of change.
    Are these changes products of fighting dogma or embracing the fringe. I don’t think so.

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