Gary Hamel Quotes


I'm not one of those professors whose office is encased floor-to-ceiling with books. By the way I think academics do this to intimidate their visitors.

If corporate leaders and their acolytes are not slaves to some meritorious social purpose they run the risk of being enslaved by their own ignoble appetites.

Are we changing as fast as the world around us?

This extraordinary arrogance that change must start at the top is a way of guaranteeing that change will not happen in most companies.

The problem with the future is that it is different if you are unable to think differently the future will always arrive as a surprise.

I am an ardent supporter of capitalism - but I also understand that while individuals have inalienable God-given rights corporations do not.

Most of us do more than subsist. From the vantage point of our ancestors we live lives of almost unimaginable ease. Here again we have innovation to thank.

I was frustrated for a long time with my colleagues in the business school world and with so many management authors who didn't really see themselves as innovators. They were glorified journalists.

A titled leader relies heavily on positional power to get things done; a natural leader is able to mobilize others without the whip of formal authority.

An enterprise that is constantly exploring new horizons is likely to have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

Never before has the gap between what we can imagine and what we can accomplish been smaller.

An uplifting sense of purpose is more than an impetus for individual accomplishment it is also a necessary insurance policy against expediency and impropriety.

Great accomplishments start with great aspirations.

As human beings we are the genetic elite the sentient contemplating and innovating sum of countless genetic accidents and transcription errors.

I don't know whether the universe contains any evidence of intelligent design but I can assure you that thousands of everyday products do not.

Like a child star whose fame fades as the years advance many once-innovative companies become less so as they mature.

Innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance.

Business leaders must find ways to infuse mundane business activities with deeper soul-stirring ideals such as honor truth love justice and beauty.

In an increasingly non-linear economy incremental change is not enough-you have to build a capacity for strategy innovation one that increases your ability to recognize new opportunities.

Over time a successful company will acquire much in the way of resources and momentum and these things often insulate it from reality once it has stopped being successful.

Online hierarchies are inherently dynamic. The moment someone stops adding value to the community his influence starts to wane.

In an ideal world an individual's institutional power would be correlated perfectly with his or her value-add. In practice this is seldom the case.

You can't build an adaptable organization without adaptable people - and individuals change only when they have to or when they want to.

An adaptable company is one that captures more than its fair share of new opportunities. It's always redefining its 'core business' in ways that open up new avenues for growth.

An employee who's one of hundreds rather than one of a few is unlikely to feel personally responsible for helping the organization adapt and change.

There's a simple but oft-neglected lesson here: to sustain success you have to be willing to abandon things that are no longer successful.

It's important to remember that innovators in business don't always get a platform.

In the age of revolution you have to be able to imagine revolutionary alternatives to the status quo. If you can't you'll be relegated to the swollen ranks of keyboard-pounding automatons.

Truth be told there are lots of companies that provide exemplary phone support. DirecTV Virgin America and Apple are a few that regularly exceed my expectations.

From Gandhi to Mandela from the American patriot to the Polish shipbuilders the makers of revolutions have not come from the top.

Strategy is above all else the search for above average returns.

Our biggest challenge is how to create a self-renewing company.

Most companies don't have the luxury of focusing exclusively on innovation. They have to innovate while stamping out zillions of widgets or processing billions of transactions.

We owe our existence to innovation. Our species exists thanks to four billion years of genetic innovation.

Out there in some garage is an entrepreneur who's forging a bullet with your company's name on it. You've got one option now - to shoot first. You've got to out innovate the innovators.

The biggest barriers to strategic renewal are almost always top management's unexamined beliefs.

Businesses fail when they over-invest in what is at the expense of what could be.

You have to train people how to be business innovators. If you don't train them the quality of the ideas that you get in an innovation marketplace is not likely to be high.

Fact is inventing an innovative business model is often mostly a matter of serendipity.

... all too often a successful new business model becomes the business model for companies not creative enough to invent their own. [2002] p.46

Top-down authority structures turn employees into bootlickers breed pointless struggles for political advantage and discourage dissent.

We live in a moment that is pregnant with possibility.

For the first time in history we can work backward from our imagination rather than forward from our past.

Perseverance may be just as important as speed in the battle for the future.

To be embraced a change effort must be socially constructed in a process that gives everyone the right to set priorities diagnose barriers and generate options.

Taking risks breaking the rules and being a maverick have always been important but today they are more crucial than ever.

Remarkable contributions are typically spawned by a passionate commitment to transcendent values such as beauty truth wisdom justice charity fidelity joy courage and honor.

Resilience is based on the ability to embrace the extremes -- while no becoming an extremist. ... **Most companies don't do paradox very well.** (emphasis by author) [2002] p.25f

When a politician bends the truth or a CEO breaks a promise trust takes a beating.

Obviously you don't have to be religious to be moral and beastly people are sometimes religious.

One doesn't have to be a Marxist to be awed by the scale and success of early-20th-cent ury efforts to transform strong-willed human beings into docile employees.

Building human-centered organizations doesn't imply a return to the paternalistic corporate welfare practices of the 19th century. Most of us don't want to be nannied.

If customer ignorance is a profit centre for you you're in trouble.

Over the centuries religion has become institutionalized and in the process encrusted with elaborate hierarchies top-heavy bureaucracies highly specialized roles and reflexive routines.

At the pinnacle of great design are products so gorgeous and lust-worthy that you want to lick them: a Porsche 911 Samsung's Luxia TV an Eames lounge chair or anything by Loro Piana.

The only thing that can be safely predicted is that sometime soon your organization will be challenged to change in ways for which it has no precedent.

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 appear on any organization chart.

In a well-functioning democracy citizens have the option of voting their political masters out of office. Not so in most companies.

Companies do not do new things because they understand it but because they feel it.

In a world of commoditized knowledge the returns go to the companies who can produce non-standard knowledge.

The single biggest reason companies fail is they overinvest in what is as opposed to what might be.

To escape the curse of commoditization a company has to be a game-changer and that requires employees who are proactive inventive and zealous.

Any company that cannot imagine the future won't be around to enjoy it.

Innovation is the fuel for growth. When a company runs out of innovation it runs out of growth.

Management innovation is going to be the most enduring source of competitive advantage. There will be lots of rewards for firms in the vanguard.

In most languages 'control' is the first synonym for the word 'manage.' Control is about spotting and correcting deviations from pre-defined standards; thus to control one must first constrain.

Power has long been regarded as morally corrosive and we often suspect the intentions of those who seek it.

Only stupid questions create wealth.

The fact is society is made more hospitable by every individual who acts as if 'do unto others' really was a rule.

Your organization can start tweeting but that wont change its DNA.

There is no way to create wealth without ideas. Most new ideas are created by newcomers. So anyone who thinks the world is safe for incumbents is dead wrong.

There are as many foolhardy ways to grow as there are to downsize.

Organizational structures of today demand too much from a few and not much at all from everyone else.

We like to believe we can break strategy down to Five Forces or Seven Ss. But you can't. Strategy is extraordinarily emotional and demanding.

Discovery is the journey; insight is the destination.

What matters in the new economy is not return on investment but return on imagination

A noble purpose inspires sacrifice stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.

Win small win early win often.

Influence is like water. Always flowing somewhere.

For every person who can imagine a possibility there are tens of thousands who are stuck in the greased grooves of history.

It's not just that individuals have lost faith in the integrity of their leaders it's that they no longer believe society's most powerful institutions are acting in their interests.

Ideas that transform industries almost never come from inside those industries.

Large organizations don't worship shareholders or customers they worship the past. If it were otherwise it wouldn't take a crisis to set a company on a new path.

The problem is not one of prediction. It is one of imagination.

We've reached the end of incrementalism. Only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy.

In the long term the most important question for a company is not what you are but what you are becoming.

You can't use an old map to see a new land.

The value of your network is the square of the number of people in it.

people are all there is to an organization

The goal is not to speculate on what might happen but to imagine what you can make happen.