February 14, 2008
Humanizing the Workplace


It's really not my nature to be this effusive about other people's books, but Gary Hamel's newest offering, The Future of Management, is a 15 on a scale of 1-10. Lucid. Authentic. Compelling. And very well-written. Gary and his co-author, Bill Breen, have built a very compelling case for WHY management needs to change its stripes if they expect their organizations to grow or, more specifically, establish the kind of corporate culture that is conducive to real innovation.

Here's an example of Hamel's straight talk:

"As human beings, we are amazingly adaptable and creative, yet most of us work for companies that are not. In other words, we work for companies that aren't very human.

"There seems to be something in modern organizations that depletes the natural resilience and creativity of human beings, something that literally leaches these qualities out of employees during daylight hours. The culprit? Management principles and processes that foster discipline, punctuality, economy, rationality, and order, yet place very little value on artistry, non-conformity, originality, audacity, and elan."

"To put it simply, most companies are only fractionally human because they make room for only a fraction of the qualities and capabilities that make us human. Billions of people show up for work every day, but way too many of them are sleepwalking. The result: organizations that systematically underperform their potential."


Innovative organizations know how to elicit a creative response from their workforce, not a reactive response. They know how to establish the kind of conditions that nurture growth, instead of mechanically extracting it. They choose to water the root of the plant, not tug on the stalk or harangue the leaves. And they choose this approach because somewhere, deep, down inside, they respect the innate creativity and integrity of each and every employee.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at February 14, 2008 02:25 AM

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