While I am not certain what a “business thinker” is, Hamel delivers an interesting take on his current viewpoint of the business world. I’m not certain however that he delivers anything all that groundbreaking; in fact I think an argument can be made that the bulk of what Hamel deems as mattering now, has really always mattered when it comes to business.
Hamel breaks What Matters Now, into five sections:
· Values Matter Now
· Innovation Matters Now
· Adaptability Matters Now
· Passion Matters Now
· Ideology Matters Now
Hamel falls into a populist trap in the early chapters of the book; Values Matter Now, dissecting current public perceptions of so-called “big-business”. While no one can argue that that we have gone through a significant period of business upheaval, much of the problems have been self-inflicted and then magnified by the 24 hour media cycle, but in reality there have always been evil-doers in the business world.
I don’t think the lack of business ethics and values is worse now, however they may have grown in complexity. Their impact has been placed front and center in the public microscope. Mr. Charles Ponzi was around a long time before we ever heard of Bernie Madoff and credit default swaps.
Hamel’s deconstruction of Apple in the section entitled, Innovation Matters Now reads a bit like a Blue Ocean Strategy case study rather than part of a strategic road map for the future direction of business. Leaders interested in erasing competitive borders and carving a different path to success would be better served delving into Kim and Mauborgne’s break through approach to business.
While overall What Matters Now isn’t in and of itself groundbreaking, it is Hamel’s way of delivering a gentle reminder and course correction for the way business should be done.