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Book Review

Leading the Revolution: How to Thrive in Turbulent Times by Making Innovation a Way of Life

by Gary Hamel

While this isn’t the first book to draft a blueprint for success in business, it is one of the most comprehensive in its approach. From the diagnostic questions in the early chapters, to those that explore opportunities for growth throughout the remainder of the book, Gary Hamel proves that it’s not about “having all the answers.” It’s knowing which questions to ask, like, “What 10 things would our customer never say about us?”

Between provocative questions and clear observations about the post-dot-com landscape, Hamel provides case studies that are rich in detail and sure to spark ideas about your own organization’s direction. The central theme is that organizations need to view innovation as an integral component in every department, with every employee and each process, and not as an occasionally necessary diversion from the work-at-hand.

Hamel opines that companies don’t fail because they can’t predict the future, but because they can’t imagine the future. And unlike other treatises on corporate success that merely provide lofty ideals, Hamel’s book outlines a process by which one person can begin to change an entire organization. The later chapters address building a grass-roots effort to support a new cause or initiative and some case studies of individuals and small teams that made a big impact.

Above all, the contributions of people are what determine the success of an organization …not technology, nor economic climate… “What we need is not an economy of hands or heads, but an economy of hearts. Every employee should feel that he or she is contributing to something that will actually make a genuine and positive difference in the lives of customers and colleagues…to succeed in the age of revolution, a company must give its members a reason to bring all of their humanity to work.”