65 Breathtaking Gary Hamel Quotes

Gary Hamel is an American management expert and founder of Strategos. As an international management consulting firm, Hamel is considered one of the leading experts in the world on business strategy. Here is a look at some of the most renowned Gary Hamel quotes to know.

“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.”

“A titled leader relies heavily on positional power to get things done; a natural leader is able to mobilize others without the whip of formal authority.”

“An enterprise that is constantly exploring new horizons is likely to have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent.”

“An uplifting sense of purpose is more than an impetus for individual accomplishment, it is also a necessary insurance policy against expediency and impropriety.”

“Are we changing as fast as the world around us?”

“As human beings, we are the genetic elite, the sentient, contemplating and innovating sum of countless genetic accidents and transcription errors.”


“Business leaders must find ways to infuse mundane business activities with deeper, soul-stirring ideals, such as honor, truth, love, justice, and beauty.”

“Competition for the future is competition to create and dominate emerging opportunities-to stake out new competitive space. Creating the future is more challenging than playing catch up, in that you have to create your own roadmap.”

“Discovery is the journey; insight is the destination.”

“For every person who can imagine a possibility there are tens of thousands who are stuck in the greased grooves of history.”

“From Gandhi to Mandela, from the American patriot to the Polish shipbuilders, the makers of revolutions have not come from the top.”

“Great accomplishments start with great aspirations.”

“I am an ardent supporter of capitalism – but I also understand that while individuals have inalienable, God-given rights, corporations do not.”

“I live a half mile from the San Andreas fault – a fact that bubbles up into my consciousness every time some other part of the world experiences an earthquake. ”

“Ideas that transform industries almost never come from inside those industries.”

“If customer ignorance is a profit centre for you, you’re in trouble.”

“In a world of commoditized knowledge, the returns go to the companies who can produce non-standard knowledge.”

“In an ideal world, an individual’s institutional power would be correlated perfectly with his or her value-add. In practice, this is seldom the case.”

“In an increasingly non-linear economy, incremental change is not enough-you have to build a capacity for strategy innovation, one that increases your ability to recognize new opportunities.”

“In most companies, the formal hierarchy is a matter of public record – it’s easy to discover who’s in charge of what. By contrast, natural leaders don’t appear on any organization chart.”

“In the long term the most important question for a company is not what you are but what you are becoming.”

“Influence is like water. Always flowing somewhere.”

“Innovation is the fuel for growth. When a company runs out of innovation, it runs out of growth.”

“Innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance.”

“It’s important to remember that innovators in business don’t always get a platform.”

“Like a child star whose fame fades as the years advance, many once-innovative companies become less so as they mature.”

“Management innovation is going to be the most enduring source of competitive advantage. There will be lots of rewards for firms in the vanguard.”

“Most of us do more than subsist. From the vantage point of our ancestors, we live lives of almost unimaginable ease. Here again, we have innovation to thank.”

“Most of us understand that innovation is enormously important. It’s the only insurance against irrelevance. It’s the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. ”

“Never before has the gap between what we can imagine and what we can accomplish been smaller.”

“Obviously, you don’t have to be religious to be moral, and beastly people are sometimes religious.”

“One doesn’t have to be a Marxist to be awed by the scale and success of early-20th-century efforts to transform strong-willed human beings into docile employees.”

“Online hierarchies are inherently dynamic. The moment someone stops adding value to the community, his influence starts to wane.”

“Only stupid questions create wealth.”

“Organizational structures of today demand too much from a few, and not much at all from everyone else.”

“Our biggest challenge is how to create a self-renewing company.”

“Out there in some garage is an entrepreneur who’s forging a bullet with your company’s name on it. You’ve got one option now – to shoot first. You’ve got to out innovate the innovators.”

“Perseverance may be just as important as speed in the battle for the future.”

“Power has long been regarded as morally corrosive, and we often suspect the intentions of those who seek it.”

“Remarkable contributions are typically spawned by a passionate commitment to transcendent values such as beauty, truth, wisdom, justice, charity, fidelity, joy, courage and honor.”

“Somewhere out there is a bullet with your company’s name on it. Somewhere out there is a competitor, unborn and unknown, that will render your strategy obsolete. ”

“Strategy is, above all else, the search for above average returns.”

“The biggest barriers to strategic renewal are almost always top management’s unexamined beliefs.”

“The fact is, society is made more hospitable by every individual who acts as if ‘do unto others’ really was a rule.”

“The goal is not to speculate on what might happen, but to imagine what you can make happen.”

“The only thing that can be safely predicted is that sometime soon your organization will be challenged to change in ways for which it has no precedent.”

“The opportunities for future growth are everywhere. Seeing the future has nothing to do with speculating about what might happen. Rather, you must understand the revolutionary potential of what is already happening.”

“The problem is not one of prediction. It is one of imagination.”

“The problem with the future is that it is different, if you are unable to think differently, the future will always arrive as a surprise.”

“The single biggest reason companies fail is they overinvest in what is, as opposed to what might be.”

“There is no way to create wealth without ideas. Most new ideas are created by newcomers. So anyone who thinks the world is safe for incumbents is dead wrong.”

“There’s a simple, but oft-neglected lesson here: to sustain success, you have to be willing to abandon things that are no longer successful.”

“This extraordinary arrogance that change must start at the top is a way of guaranteeing that change will not happen in most companies.”

“To be embraced, a change effort must be socially constructed in a process that gives everyone the right to set priorities, diagnose barriers, and generate options.”

“Today, no leader can afford to be indifferent to the challenge of engaging employees in the work of creating the future. Engagement may have been optional in the past, but its pretty much the whole game today.”

“Top-down authority structures turn employees into bootlickers, breed pointless struggles for political advantage, and discourage dissent.”

“We like to believe we can break strategy down to Five Forces or Seven Ss. But you can’t. Strategy is extraordinarily emotional and demanding.”

“We owe our existence to innovation. Our species exists thanks to four billion years of genetic innovation.”

“We’ve reached the end of incrementalism. Only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy.”

“What matters in the new economy is not return on investment, but return on imagination.”

“When a politician bends the truth or a CEO breaks a promise, trust takes a beating.”

“Win small, win early, win often.”

“You can’t build an adaptable organization without adaptable people – and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to.”

“You can’t use an old map to see a new land.”

“Your organization can start tweeting, but that wont change its DNA.”

Here is a conversation with Gary Hamel as he discusses transformation of leadership and the realities of new workplace structures. Hamel touches on the subjects of leadership and the dispersion of power in an organization.

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