Humanocracy with Gary Hamel

AUGUST 09, 2020



We jump right in with thoughts on reducing bureaucracy in the workplace. Its been over a decade since Gary has written the Future of Management but what has changed? It’s really the management model in organizations that are holding them back. Currently, we have command structures heavily influenced by Taylorism that doesn’t fit the way people are growing up and entering the workforce. This is forcing companies to change. The first synonym for Management is Control, so the mindset has been Controlism within management.


The major costs of bureaucracy don’t show up on a P&L. You need to start measuring those costs and holding leaders responsible for driving those costs down. It wasn’t until we started caring about the environmental impact organizations had that we started to measure it and hold them accountable.


Great discussion on how we are training managers and young leaders within academia prior to entering the workforce. One of the problems is that the ideas of Servant Leadership and leading from behind have been around for a while but within bureaucracies, those behaviors aren’t rewarded. Think of bureaucracy as a multiplayer game. A level 10 character knows how to horde resources and shift blame.

Bureaucracies make assholes of us all.

We’ve conflated the idea of leadership with where you sit in the hierarchy. When people in your organization talk about "the leadership team", do they mean "everyone in the organization who can make amazing things happen" or the dozen or so EVPs who sit atop the pyramid?


Don’t talk to me about Agile unless you’re willing to open up the whole strategy conversation to the entire organization and you are willing to give up your monopoly on creating strategy and direction at the top.


Creating a confederation of owners. People who have the two things that owners have. 1: Real decision rights with local P&Ls. 2: A financial upside. That’s what it means to be a business owner. That’s what it means to be an entrepreneur. It requires the freedom to make decisions.

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.

Bureaucracy is just a technology and it made sense when:

  1. Most employees were very poorly educated

  2. Information was difficult and expensive to move

  3. Competitive advantage was primarily around scale and repeatability

  4. Where change was gradual

Check out Humanocracy here.