Warren Bennis - A business mind with a passion for leadership "The new leader understands and practices the power of appreciation."
James Champy - A business mind who grasps the fundamentals of real change "The change I talk about is radical and discontinuous, not incremental, contrary to what we are used to daily."
Peter Cohan - A business mind with a keen sense of why e-success happens "I have always been skeptical about the notion that the Internet will change everything."
Jim Collins - A business mind fascinated by the triumph of great over good "What values would you continue to hold even if the market, your industry, customers, and the media penalized you for holding them? Only such values are truly core."
Arie de GeiiS - A business mind who has dug deep into "the living company" "It is not so far-fetched to view our institutions as central, rather than peripheral, to human survival."
Peter Drucker - A business mind steeped in the past who has sagely predicted the future "I think alliances will be the major challenge of the future. They're a new way of organizing."
Leif EdvillSSOn - A business mind sensitive to a company's "intangible assets" "What you can't see is now driving the economies of the world. The intellectual capital of nations is the new wealth of nations."
Sumantra Ghoshal - A business mind who knows that knowledge is power in the marketplace "Companies must address human capital at a more profound level."
Beverly Goldberg - A business mind who ties business leadership to social progress "The idea of encouraging older workers to remain in the workforce should not be seen as a form of cruelty to the elderly."
Daniel Goleman - A business mind who is willing to probe the emotions "We ignore emotional competencies at our peril."
Gary Haitiel - A business mind who's not afraid to overthrow the status quo "The primary agenda is to be the architect of industry transformation, not simply corporate transformation."
Michael Hammer - A business mind who wants to change the business world - now! "For me, it's a revolution on a world scale, on the level of importance of the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago."
Charles Handy - A business mind with an eye on social consequences "I believe the organization of the future will be federal. Federalism is a means of linking independent bodies in a common cause."
Oren Harari - A business mind always ready to "jump the curve" "I foresee enormous flux and vast possibilities over the next decade."
Rosabeth MOSS Kanter - A business mind who has keenly measured the dimensions of change "Once you understand the pattern, the dynamics of the system, you can set about changing things."
W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne - Two business minds who uniquely define "value innovation" "Value innovation places equal emphasis on value and innovation."
Philip Kotler - A business mind who has defined "marketing" for the modern age "There are many companies now run by people who've come up through marketing."
John Kotter - A business mind finely tuned to how leadership drives change "There are many forces that will impact the success of a change effort."
Edward Lawler - A business mind who is a master of management across the board "There's a growing focus on boards, mainly because people are seeing the critical role they play not only inside a company but in society as a whole."
David Maister - A business mind who has been called "the professional's professional" "A kind of 'science' is emerging in the field of professionalism."
Henry Mintzberg - A business mind determined to know how managers really work "Management education should be based on experience. Managers cannot be made in vitro."
Ian Mitroff - A business mind who believes organizations need the "whole person" "We need new ways to think about people and organizations, and we need new ways to measure input, output, and overall performance."
Geoffrey Moore - A business mind who is defining the age of the Internet "Every company needs to incorporate the Internet into its strategy, and how it does so will impact its stock price."
Kenichi Ohmae - A business mind who sees the world through the portal of Japan "Forget simplistic Western myths about Japanese management. There is much more to it than company songs and lifetime employment."
Richard Pascale - A business mind who explores the edges of management to come "There are great wealth-generating opportunities which will affect industries of all kinds."
Tom Peters - A business mind who thinks the problem usually is...management "Everybody has a different tolerance level for criticism."
Thomas Petzinger, Jr. - A business mind facing the challenge of operating a real business "I'm actually building a business on the principles I set out to build on, and that feels great."
Jeffrey Pfeffer - A business mind who emphasizes people in the business equation "What other dimension is there to organizations, besides people?"
C.K. Prahalad - A business mind who can embrace large corporations and the urban poor "We have to create a market, to change our assumption of the poor as a burden to considering the poor as a commercial opportunity."
Jonas Ridderstrale - A business mind who asserts that being different is a definite plus "When you invest in human imagination - feelings and fantasy - the sky is the limit."
Ai Ries - A business mind who's focussed on marketing, strategy, and branding "The best opportunity for long-term success lies in narrowing the focus."
Peter Senge - A business mind who advanced the learning organization "In the simplest sense, a learning organization is a group of people who are continually enhancing their capability to create their own future."
Patricia Seybold - A business mind who puts online customer relationships first "Customers, armed with information and access, are much more demanding than ever before."
Adrian Slywotzky - A business mind who sees the e-world changing business for ever "I'm convinced that a massive shift to digital business is only a few years off."
Don TapSCOtt - A business mind who stresses media as much as management "What we are seeing is a fundamental change in the rules of success that govern both business and social development."
Alvin Toffler - A business mind who has been predictably right about what's coming "My starting point has always been 'change.'"
Fons Trompenaars - A business mind who melds cultures into progress "Organizations and societies that can reconcile cultural differences better are better at creating wealth."
Bruce Tulgan - A business mind attuned to workplace demographics - and attitudes "The changes in the economy have been freeing work from the confines of the old-fashioned 'job' with its rigid features."
Meg Wheatley - A business mind who's prescient on trends in organizations and society "What we need is time to think about what we've learned from all we've been doing."
Danah Zohar - A business mind shaped by physics and philosophy "'Spirit' is a big word with so many meanings. I use it in connection with intelligence."
This is the age of the guru. There are religious gurus, spiritual mentors, motivational gurus, champions of self-help, financial gurus. The list lengthens by the day as another guru takes center stage and proclaims remarkable insights. Gurus are a phenomenon of our times, peddlers of hope in an age of fear, doubt, and anxiety.
And business is no exception. Management gurus (call them thought-leaders if you prefer) are the lavishly paid troubadours of the business world. They travel the globe with their corporate medicine shows. Their influence extends from the boardroom to the shopfloor and well beyond. Increasingly, the management gurus have the ear of the people who matter.
Their views and insights are sought by the CEOs of the biggest corporations in the world, and many more. Some act as consultants and advisers to national governments. Harvard luminary Michael Porter, for example, has carried out economic studies for India, New Zealand, and Canada, among others. Leadership guru Warren Bennis has advised four US presidents and more than 40 other world leaders.
For the few who attain superstar status the financial rewards are equally intoxicating. The star performers earn tens of thousands of dollars for a single day's work. Tom Peters, whose fame peaked in the late 1980s, can still charge $90 000 for a single day. A number of others regularly invoice in excess of $75000 for a day's work. Business guru-dom is a lucrative market that dovetails neatly with the mainstream speaking circuit. As Peters told us: "In the US there are 10000 or 11000 trade associations and all have annual meetings with three or four speakers. Looking at the economics it isn't that strange. The US has set the market. Every year produces another hero - Schwarzkopf, Ford, Kissinger, Thatcher, Powell. That sets the top of the market, and we glide in between them. Every time there's a war it puts the price up."
The intellectual war among the business gurus is ongoing. To stay at the top requires boundless reserves of mental and physical stamina. The gurus travel the world unceasingly. Seminar follows seminar. If it's Tuesday it is probably a 45-minute speech to the Baltimore Brewing Federation; Wednesday could be Minneapolis or Madrid; Thursday, Toronto or Tokyo.
And the guru circuit is becoming more crowded. The leading players are so well rewarded that their example encourages emulators. Every year a battery of books and articles proclaim the rise of new management gurus. Recent years, for example, have seen the rise of the new economy thinkers. These digital gurus now vie with established old economy thinkers to map out the business landscape of the future.
All of this makes it increasingly difficult for practicing managers to identify and stay abreast of the latest and best business thinking. Idea after idea is launched with ever louder fanfare. And the trumpeting gets more strident. A fountain of new books gushes from publishers and new and established authors.
Why ideas matter
To some people, of course, the merry-go-round of new (and not so new) ideas and thinkers is no more than a side show to the serious business of business. Yet the simple fact is that modern management is a curious mix of the practical and the theoretical. Ask a manager which dominates and he or she will naturally say the former: management is about getting tasks done. Yet the reality is more complicated. None of us can afford to entirely ignore new ideas.
A growing number of managers have now been to one of the many business schools around the world. For these people, schooled in management theory, the power of ideas is understood. But those who did
their management training in the school of hard knocks may ask: "Why bother?" They might argue, with some justification, that management is fundamentally a hands-on activity and has little relation to the grandiose or ethereal theories of management gurus.
It is easy to dismiss much of what is written and disseminated through conferences and seminars as irrelevant to what real managers do on a day-to-day basis. It is easy to assume that they continue to do what they have always done. But the fact is that new ideas and concepts shape how we think about the role of managers in a changing business environment.
Think about how the job of the manager has changed in the past few decades. What is needed in today's business world, it is almost universally agreed, is a lighter touch on the reins, a more intelligent use of human resources, and a more empowering style of management. Today the manager is seen as a leader and facilitator rather than controller and policeman. At the same time, the sort of environment and organization in which managers operate is changing to fit new conceptions of what a business should look like. The fundamental understanding or psychological contract between the manager and the organization is being transformed by redefinitions of the employee/employer relationship.
Where do such notions come from? From the management thinkers, of course. From the thousands of business books, articles, case studies, and models that are produced each year. These have a constant drip, drip, drip effect on the consciousness of managers everywhere. A steady flow of new ideas is redefining what managers should be doing, how they should be doing it, and, critically, how their job performance is evaluated. Today's theory is often tomorrow's task.
Just as the best theory is (or should be) derived from the real world, so the real world is changed by the promulgation of the theory. The great business school and consulting concepts are theory created out of practice, which is then presented back into the workplace as best practice. New ideas about business change both the terms of reference by which real managers operate and the yardsticks by which their performance is measured. The unavoidable conclusion is that ideas influence what real managers do.
Shortening idea life cycles
In today's fast-forward business world, too, the speed with which new ideas gain currency is accelerating. In recent years the flow of ideas has become a torrent. The advent of electronic communication has turbo-charged the process. Ideas travel further and faster than ever before. Just as product life cycles have shortened, so too has the life cycle of business ideas.
The trend is confirmed by four academics from the University of Louisiana.1 They studied the life cycles of 16 managerial fashions from the 1950s to the end of the 1990s. Their results, published in the Fall 2000 edition of the American Academy of Management Journal, make interesting reading. They suggest that management fads follow the same bell-shaped life cycle curve as products. The fashions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were relatively simple to understand and to put into practice. Their life cycle, from inception to fashion status, averaged 15 years. But by the end of the 1990s, the life cycle of a management theory had dropped to just three years.
Such rapid promulgation makes it harder to assess the validity - or usefulness - of any new idea or theory. It also makes it much harder to identify who today's best business minds are.
1 Carson, P.P., Lanier, P.A., Carson, K.D., and Guidrey, B.N. (2000) "Clearing a path through the management fashion jungle," American Academy of Management Journal, 43:6, Fall.
In a business world where information overload is already a major cause of stress, the choice is either a desperate attempt to read and assimilate everything - or ignore it altogether. Most managers are caught in the middle, reading what they can when they can and trying to sort the nuggets from the rest. Business Minds aims to help them in that task.
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322 pages. What's the big idea?
Well, these days, it's the most important resource you can deploy. Quite simply, the more you know; the faster you go. So whose ideas are you listening to?
Business Minds brings you the latest and greatest management ideas live and direct from the leading thinkers. The management gurus, unplugged.
Warren Bennis, James Champy, James Collins, Peter Drucker, Leif Edvinsson, Sumantra Ghoshal, Daniel Goleman, Gary Hamel, Charles Handy, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Chan Kim, Philip Kotler, John Kotter, Henry Mintzberg, Nicholas Negroponte, Jonas Ridderstrale, Kenichi Ohmae, Tom Peters, CK Prahalad, Al Ries, Peter Senge, Patricia Seybold, Don Tapscott, Lester Thurow, Alvin Toffler, Fons Trompenaars and more
A steady flow of new ideas is redefining what managers should be doing and how they should be doing it. In a world where today's theory is often tomorrow's task, the business leaders of tomorrow are the ones who today think about the next big ideas.
So we believe that ideas count. The change our organisations and the way they compete; change the goods and services we produce, and can change forever the way we work. The way we see it, our job is to bring you the latest thinking, direct from 40 of the best business minds. ISBN:0273656600