Gary Hamel on reimagining organisations by unlocking frontline expertise and developing leaders at all levels.
Mike Carden’s The Joyous Podcast features conversations with some of the world’s leading management thinkers.
This episode features Gary Hamel, a member of the London Business School faculty for more than 30 years and director of the Management Lab.
Here’s a ChatGPT precis of the transcript for this week’s episode or listen here.
Hamel begins by reflecting on his early experiences witnessing the impact of international competition on US industries, particularly during the rise of Japanese competition in the car industry. This realisation led him to focus on the critical importance of building organisations that can adapt, innovate and foresee changes before crises occur.
He argues against the traditional top-down approach to strategy setting, highlighting the limitations of leaders at the highest levels in terms of being disconnected from ground-level insights and often being resistant to change. He emphasises the need for organisations to adopt a more open and inclusive strategy development process that involves input from various levels within the organisation.
The conversation also delves into large incumbents' challenges in staying ahead of the curve and fostering innovation. Hamel cites examples like Tesla and Chinese company Haier, which have successfully embraced entrepreneurial approaches and demonstrated the ability to pioneer new markets.
He discusses the challenges in organisational leadership, highlighting the need to move away from traditional bureaucratic models towards more innovative and decentralised structures. He advocates for leaders who promote creativity, challenge conventional thinking, and empower employees to contribute ideas.
The conversation touches on the comfort people find in bureaucratic setups, the impact of deeply embedded social structures, and the importance of contrarian thinking in solving persistent problems.
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