Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them

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Senteo Rating 3.5
01/22/24
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Author:Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini
01/22/24
views 21204
comments0
Author:Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.5

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them
Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini, Harvard Business Review Press, 2020
Senteo’s Review information

“Humanocracy is a work by renowned management thinker Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini, a strategy consultant. The book makes a compelling argument against traditional hierarchies and bureaucracies that, according to the authors, stifle human creativity and productivity, impede economic growth, and slow down the innovation process. 

The authors assert that despite technological advancements, organizations are still shackled by centuries-old bureaucratic structures that possess the capacity to heavily limit human potential. The solution proposed is a shift towards ‘humanocracy,’ a system where every individual’s talents, creativity, and passion are harnessed.  

Hamel and Zanini propose a radical rethink of how people organize and manage work, arguing for an environment where employees at all levels feel responsible for and invested in the organization’s success. They outline practical steps for organizations to adopt, aiming to increase adaptability, foster innovation, and boost employee morale and engagement. The book provides many detailed case studies of companies that have transitioned from bureaucratic systems to ‘humanocracies’ and achieved success. In addition, they offer a standardized BMI (Bureaucracy Mass Index) rating for companies to explore and benchmark their levels of bureaucratic burden.

The authors present a well-structured argument supported by numerous real-life examples. Their proposed vision of a human-centric organization resonates well with recent trends towards employee empowerment, flexibility, and the increasing importance of soft skills in the workforce — trailblazed by such industry giants as Google and Apple. The call to de-bureaucratize is timely, given the growing frustration with traditional top-down hierarchies that often stifle innovation and creativity. 

Moreover, the book is well-written and easily comprehensible, catering to a broad audience. It excels in simplifying intricate concepts into actionable steps, offering readers a clear roadmap to transform their organizations. 

Finally, the authors’ acknowledgment of poor working conditions and dissatisfaction with modern jobs and working environments among the global workforce (but especially in the US) is valiant and noteworthy. They integrate these factors well into their arguments for ‘humanocracy.’ All too often, various business influencers prefer to distance their subjects and ideas from the less comely phenomena of the modern world, and we commend Hamel and Zanini for their attention to and recognition of these problems.

While the concept of humanocracy is appealing, implementing it could prove challenging, especially in large, well-established organizations. Not all organizations may be ready or capable of making such a dramatic shift, and the book could have provided more guidance on overcoming these challenges. 

Furthermore, the book might be seen as idealistic. While it’s true that traditional hierarchies can be limiting, they also provide order and stability. Moreover, these hierarchies may be more important in certain industries and markets, which thus could possess only limited capabilities to fully transfer to ‘humanocracies’. 

In Humanocracy”, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini make a passionate, data-driven argument for excising bureaucracy and replacing it with something better. Drawing on more than a decade of research and packed with practical examples, “Humanocracy” lays out a detailed blueprint for creating organizations that are as inspired and ingenious as the human beings inside them. 

Critical building blocks include: 

  • Motivation: Rallying colleagues to the challenge of busting bureaucracy 
  • Models: Leveraging the experience of organizations that have profitably challenged the bureaucratic status quo 
  • Mindsets: Escaping the industrial age thinking that frustrates progress 
  • Mobilization: Activating a pro-change coalition to hack outmoded management systems and processes 
  • Migration: Embedding the principles of humanocracy—ownership, markets, meritocracy, community, openness, experimentation, and paradox—in your organization’s DNA 

“Humanocracy” is an essential read for leaders and managers looking to break free from traditional hierarchical structures and create a more engaging, productive work environment. It will also be valuable to HR professionals, consultants, and anyone interested in organizational culture and transformation. 

For more on business strategy and organizational behavior with a focus on customer experience, readers might consider exploring “Good to Great” (Senteo review) by J. Collins. Furthermore, people interested in leadership, mission, and their impact on behavior, might be interested in “Start with Why” (Senteo review) by S. Sinek.

Senteo Subject Category
Senteo

“Humanocracy” covers aspects of leadership, change management, and organizational culture. Its focus is on the strategic application of principles that enable the shift from bureaucracy to humanocracy, while also providing tactical steps and performance metrics.

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    Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them
    Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini, Harvard Business Review Press, 2020
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