There can be no doubt that Gary Hamel is a celebrity. He’s clever. But it seems to me he gets caught up in his own cleverness. Here is my response to a recent article in CIO Insight, where Allan E. Alter interviewed Hamel: "Strategist Gary Hamel Re-Imagines Management."
There is no evidence that the invention of the internet was a result of the “wisdom of the crowd or collective intelligence.” And I can only assume that it was he (Hamel) who provided the interview and it was not a democratic process in which everyone had a voice (i.e., it was not “open sourced”). He says, “For those who are growing up in the world of the internet, credentials and titles count very little.” Am I to assume, therefore, that he himself cares so little that he avoids starting with his own credentials?
I know of no practicing CEO whose mantra is planning, organizing, and controlling. Did Mr Hamel get that out of some out-dated textbook while being swept away by the clichés of the day?
If you assume that “the quality of an idea” can be readily and rightly determined by the first-level employees, then maybe democratization makes sense. But democracy carried to the extreme (as if the concept itself carried some magic) doesn’t have much to show for the performance of students in a “democratic” schooling system when compared to those that are less “democratic.”
Where has he been? I could show him many organizations where first-level employees have been given powerful CAD-like tools. But the tool is no better than the person wielding it. Or, are “sophisticated financial models” transparent to those first-level employees? It isn’t the tool that does the work (as many mediocre CFOs testify by their performance). It is the competence of the person using it.
I don’t agree that democratizing the workplace is the answer to anything but the continuation of the coddling and indulgence young people received at home and in school. If the tools are all that powerful free-standing, why is it necessary for him to tell us so? Is the underlying premise that prognosticators do not need the aid of the “wisdom of the crowd”?