Hamel talks about Morning Star, a company founded by Chris Rufer, and the concept that the company implemented with quite a large amount of success. Morning Star functions on the system of absolute zero structure and hierarchy. There is no designation of boss in the company, either in the formal or informal sense. All the members in the organization are their own bosses and function independently to meet the targets that conform to the corporate target. Hamel believes that managers and the hierarchy that they bring into the structure are most detrimental to the success. He argues that the modern day form of managerial activity is the least efficient function and stems from the top-heavy management model that is both cumbersome and costly.
Before we answer to the views discussed by Hamel, we must point that it is not as much the managers and rather the management process that Hamel believes to be the root of this present day evil. Hamel believes that the management process and tools that the organizations use today were all developed in as late as in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He calls this era Management 1.0 and points towards Henry Ford and other early businessmen who pioneered this movement. Those ancient practices of pay for performance, capital budgeting, task design, divisionalization and brand management were all developed before the year 1920 and still being practiced today. Those concepts are very much outdated and are being threatened by challenges today that we discussed earlier.
Hamel argues that the solution of such challenges needs to be radical and much ahead of our times. Hamel cites that Morning Star due to its absolute absence of a formal management process has many advantages over the other. The philosophy of self-management has many advantages over the classical model. Those being of more initiative, more expertise, more flexibility and more loyalty towards the organization.
The essence of the whole process, as per Hamel is to be the most innovative of all. Hamel believes that it is the sure-shot way to remain ahead of the competition. To understand what innovation management actually is, one has to know the difference between Invention, Innovation and Innovation Management. Invention refers to a new product or technology that is created by a bright mind. They are typically engineers and scientists. Innovation refers to the managerial activity that turns this invention into a product that can be sold or produced for a profit in the market. Innovation management refers to the whole process of overlooking the invention to the innovation. It involves the fine points and key managerial activities like R&D, marketing etc which make the invention into a successful product.
It is to be noted that Managers are not the ones whom Hamel is after. He wishes the organizations to see that the rigid hierarchy and inflexibility that the ancient methods breed and the shortcoming that arise out of it. Such antique ways do not equip the company to be abreast with the fast changing times. It is to be noted that Hamel himself believes that management is the single most important invention in the last 100 years. Thus when Hamel says fire the managers, he actually says that we must strive to decrease the difference between the managers and subordinates and remove the unnecessary layers.
As a wise man had once said, hate the crime, not the criminals, it is the present form of management and not the managers that are to be blamed for the organizational shortcomings.