The Five Things that Matter Now (Gary Hamel, What Matters Now)

Tomorrow, we begin our 15th year of the First Friday Book Synopsis!

Tomorrow at the April First Friday Book Synopsis, I will present my synopsis of What Matters Now:  How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation by Gary Hamel,  This is the second book I have presented by Hamel, and the fourth Hamel book that has been featured at our event.

Here’s our Gary Hamel “history”:  In September, 1998, Karl Krayer presented his synopsis of Alliance Advantage: The Art of Creating Value Through Partnering by Yves Doz and Gary Hamel, and in December, 2000, Karl presented his synopsis of Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel.  In January, 2008, I presented my synopsis of The Future of Management by Gary Hamel and Bill Breen.  And now, tomorrow, I will present my synopsis of What Matters Now.

The Wall Street Journal ranks Hamel #1 as “the most influential business thinker.”  I think his insights are valuable.  This book provides Hamel’s answer to this question:  “What Matters Now?” It is an important question, and the title of the book itself is a reminder that what matters in one year or in one era is different from what matters “now.”  The “what matters now” changes with each new “now.”

Here are the five things that he says matter now, (from the book, with a portion of his elaboration):

As trust has waned, the regulatory burden on business has grown. Reversing these trends will require nothing less than a moral renaissance in business.

successful products and strategies are quickly copied. Without relentless innovation, success is fleeting. …there’s not one company in a hundred that has made innovation everyone’s job, every day. In most organizations, innovation still happens “despite the system” rather than because of it. …innovation is the only sustainable strategy for creating long-term value.

Problem is, deep change is almost always crisis-driven; it’s tardy, traumatic and expensive. In most organizations, there are too many things that perpetuate the past and too few that encourage proactive change. The “party of the past” is usually more powerful than the “party of the future.” In a world where industry leaders can become laggards overnight, the only way to sustain success is to reinvent it.

the average workplace is a buzz killer. Petty rules, pedestrian goals, and pyramidal structures drain the emotional vitality out of work. Maybe that didn’t matter in the knowledge economy, but it matters enormously in the creative economy. The problem is not a lack of competence, but a lack of ardor.

Whatever the rhetoric to the contrary, control is the principal preoccupation of most managers and management
What creates value today is the unexpectedly brilliant product, the wonderfully weird media campaign, and the entirely novel customer experience.

Each new Gary Hamel book provides insight, learning, and a clear call for action.  And in our synopses, we do our best to give you enough of the book to help you learn important information, identify and address challenges in your own business arena, and provide some steps you can take, now, toward necessary action.

If you live in the DFW area, come join us tomorrow for the April First Friday Book Synopsis.  (7:00 am).  Click here to reserve your spot.  We have wonderful networking, great food, and the content of two key books, with comprehensive handouts, delivered in a fast paced delivery.  You can eat, learn, engage in  valuable conversations, and leave by 8:05.

(My colleague, Karl Krayer, will be presenting his synopsis of the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.  An important book!)


15minadYou can purchase my synopsis of What Matters Now,  Hamel’s earlier book The Future of Management, and synopses of many other books we have presented, with audio + multi-page comprehensive handouts, at our companion site,

Read Bob Morris’ excellent review of What Matters Now by clicking here.  Yes, you will read again about the “five things that matter.”  These provide the heart of the book.

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