What Matters Now – Gary Hamel [Book Summary]

by Nick

In the modern world, there are a lot of problems, but not all of them are equally important.

Companies and business leaders need to know exactly which ones are prioritized. What really matters and can directly lead to the development or degradation of the company?

The time has come to answer these questions.

Gary Hamel is a professor and professor of strategic and international management at the London Business School. The Wall Street Journal named Hamel the world’s most influential business thinker. 

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print

How to Thrive Amid Today’s Global Challenges That Many Businesses Face

Our world is changing at breakneck speed. The Internet has opened for us new and ultra-fast ways of communication; we are all closer to each other than ever before. This is just one of many factors that have fundamentally changed the approach to doing business worldwide.

With the advent of new means of communication, new problems arise. What used to be a problem only at the regional or local level, today can turn into a global crisis in just one night. How can one stay on course in such conditions?

From this summary, you will learn how business is conducted today, and what you can do to make revolutionary changes in your company by completely reorganizing and changing the mindset of management, staff, introducing new technologies, etc.

You will also learn:

  • why a footstool in the shower is the pinnacle of innovation;
  • how Google and Apple manage to leave competitors far behind;
  • and why you should not think in order to create – but create in order to think.

In Today’s High-tech World, Leadership and Power Require Tremendous Responsibility.

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed many global changes, but at the same time, stakes have also risen – in a rapidly developing globalization, leaders have both much more power and much more responsibility than ever.

And they have to answer much more seriously if something goes wrong.

Current leaders must be aware of the impact that decisions they make. One wrong step can lead to food problems, for example – and as a result, the health of hundreds of thousands of people may be at risk.

The leaders of many countries are already seriously concerned that an interconnected international economic system can exacerbate the consequences of their decisions. Sometimes you have to pay for the error before the situation gets out of control.

For example, in 2011, German and French banks spent nearly 900 billion dollars to strengthen the euro and prevent the currency crisis that arose due to the weakening financial systems of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.

Think of today’s world leaders. What do you think – are they able to cope with the consequences of small mistakes and prevent them from expanding to the scale of a global catastrophe?

The Internet and other latest technologies have become an effective tool for managing a global sense of self-awareness and, most importantly, keeping world leaders under control. Injustice is now harder to hide; news spreads all over the world in an instant. As a result, social responsibility and the need to change something increase.

In 2008, Coca-Cola came under fire from critics for using water from a drought region in India. Once the news spread, Coca-Cola sales plummeted worldwide. The then head of the company said that by 2020 the company will completely correct the situation with water.

The world community can no longer fully rely on government or the support of private sectors as one hundred percent solutions to problems. Read on to find out what changes really need to be implemented.

Without Ethics, Everything is Wasted. It is Time to Treat Customers as Living People, Not as Consumers

Have you made a mistake today?

Forgot to do something that you promised, or could not notice something that should have been?

All people are mistaken, and politicians, and bankers, and even leaders of states – all of them are people. And also, like all people, we try to justify our actions from an ethical point of view, regardless of how much power, money or responsibility we have on our shoulders.

The 2008 economic crisis was not just about money; it also raised many moral and ethical issues. Dishonesty, arrogance, greed, and evasion of their duties – all this abounded among world bankers. Almost everyone who worked in this area, one way or another, began to practice things that were rather dubious from a moral point of view.

Mortgage lenders approved loans for people who did not have a job, income, or asset. Bankers on Wall Street used these fake loans to buy securities, which they then resold. Investors convinced their customers that such products would provide above-average returns. And rating agencies were so hungry for enrichment that their objectivity was called into question.

Why did all this take such proportions?

Capitalism is an ideology that gives huge privileges. But if the capitalist system is not based on moral principles, all its members will somehow lose. We need an approach to business in which our natural resources will not be exhausted. And you need to treat other people humanely, and not as to consumers.

How to make such a change?

You will learn about this in the following sections.

In order to survive in the market, the company must be able to adapt. Get rid of bureaucracy!

Successful large-scale companies today are especially trying to keep up with the times. Bureaucratic structures, other principles of maintaining internal discipline and stability are now not enough to keep the business afloat in a volatile market with an extremely high level of competition.

Add to this the growing demands on social responsibility, and you will realize that today companies are facing a powerful challenge.

How can a successful company adapt to such conditions?

First, it’s time to say goodbye to the familiar top-down bureaucratic structure. Of course, many directors and managers will assure you that their priorities include personal growth, a variety of opportunities, mentoring and support for employees.

However, the reality is that all this is incompatible with bureaucratic methods.

This can be seen in the following example: many companies with an initially creative and innovative approach change dramatically after they achieve success. These companies are fighting for their success, and instead of getting rid of the status quo, they begin to defend it! This is just the perfect formula to reduce market productivity.

Here is just one example. Although Samsung has a multi-million dollar budget and a team of talented employees, it still does not lead the market for LCD TVs in the United States.

But Vizio is the leader – although it has less than 200 employees, and it works mainly with suppliers from Asia. And while they sell for 2.5 billion dollars. Conclusion? No matter how loud your brand is, a well-known brand does not always mean a brilliant business model!

The most important thing that you can do for success is to ensure the introduction of innovations in your company. How to do it? The secret is to support the ideas and initiative that your employees offer. The more of these ideas, the better.

It is in this case that you will not think “what would you create”, but create – to think!

It’s Not Necessary to Introduce Serious Innovative Changes – Just Please Your Customers

How do you like this innovative solution: a triangular bench about 20 inches high in the corner of the hotel bathroom? What for? So that a woman can comfortably place her legs there when she shaves them. Such a part is practically worthless, but it is extremely effective for making a positive and lasting impression on customers.

Listen to all your employees – this will help to keep your company innovative and flexible.

If you think that only the leader should manage and control everything that happens in the company – it’s time to change your thinking!

It’s time to realize that value is created primarily by employees and customers!

Take Apple and Google, the two companies that are best in their field. How did they come to what they have today? By merging business processes with innovative thinking.

In both companies, there is a natural, flexible hierarchy, where the status is determined not by the position that a person occupies, but by his contribution to the common cause. This makes people proactive in both professional and personal matters and helps maintain motivation.

Google, in particular, has achieved success thanks to a quick and inexpensive approach to its own learning. Thanks to modeling, testing, and layouts, customers can interact with the ideas that Google has at the very early stages of launch, and thus the company receives real-time feedback, which automatically gives it a competitive advantage.

True, some of the most successful companies today are young enough, and they have introduced a revolutionary approach from the very start. But the most important thing for them here is to maintain a leading position on a long-term basis?

So, how to ensure the competitiveness of your company?

First, you must constantly challenge the status quo. This installation will provide you with a constant influx of new customers. For example, just ten years ago, the love of video games meant dumb wallowing on the couch – until the Nintendo Wii completely changed the course of the game!

Secondly, you must create teams from people of different age groups, different sexes, different cultures, with different skills and experiences. Thanks to this, you can reach different types of customers, which will open you access to new segments of the market.

Finally, hold back your ego. Do not be afraid to ask questions to your subordinates or take into account different opinions when you need to make an important decision. You may be wondering how many blind spots you had before!

How to Meet the Expectations of the “generation of Facebook” – Passion, the Need for Recognition and Creativity?

It is unlikely that something in our history could prepare us for the pace of change that is characteristic of today’s business community.

The industrial revolution in the mid-19th century defined business models that required primarily obedience and discipline. It took a long time to move from this installation.

We no longer need the elite in the leadership, which would set the direction for work. People around the world can now independently organize their workplace online – and it is this area that needs revolutionary changes!

How can the Internet help in the workplace?

Here authority is formed from the bottom. People become influential depending on how much other people respect and value them.

If you post a home-made video on YouTube, in a few seconds it can be seen around the world, and it is unlikely that someone will ask you if you have completed camera courses. Moreover, bloggers and Facebook users can now access many influential people, companies and even the government – no one could even dream about it just ten years ago.

Remuneration systems are changing – people are no longer only interested in money, status and recognition are also important for them, which have literally become new currencies.

Why is that? The thing is that people are very passionate by nature. This is what you will notice if you provide a person with free space in which he can develop his talents, creativity to the maximum and flourish.

Just think about how many people around the world create and edit Wikipedia articles, develop free apps, write blogs – all for the sake of recognition and appreciation.

And just such an atmosphere must be created in the workplace!

The Final Words

Against the backdrop of major changes in society, fraught with increased responsibility, companies often have to make incredible efforts in order to get ahead. But what is really important now is a passion for one’s business, an innovative approach, creativity, and flexibility. Once you realize this, you will definitely be able to succeed in our uncertain world.

Do not forget about the human side of things. The next time you feel embarrassed, tired of work, etc. Imagine that you are working for your mother and that she is the sole shareholder of your company. Treat your boss as an older brother, your subordinates as your best and closest friends, and your customers as your children. Start treating people with sincere participation, and yet – imagine that you are already rich and work just because you like it!

Why You Should Read “What Matters Now “

  • To learn how to easily adapt to global dimensions;
  • To challenge the status quo of their company;
  • To plan your business from a global perspective.

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print