Management Gurus Are Human Too!

wsj_logo In today’s (May 5, 2008 ) Wall Street Journal, Erin White wrote several interesting pieces about current business management thought leadership. New Breed of Business Guru Rises: Psychologists, CEOs Climb in Influence, Draw Hits, Big Fees and What Influential Business Thinkers Focus On: Top Guru’s Ponder Managers Worries, New Approaches. (subscription required)

Popular business thinkers can reap big rewards. Speakers’ bureaus say most of the top-echelon business speakers charge between $50,000 and $75,000 a pop. Among the most in-demand are “Good to Great” author Jim Collins, “Death by Meeting” author Patrick Lencioni, Dr. (Gary) Hamel, Harvard’s Prof. (Michael) Porter, and “Our Iceberg is Melting” author John Kotter, speakers’ bureaus say.

Fees are rising, notes Ron Christman, who runs executive-development workshops for nGenera Corp. and frequently hires gurus. Speakers “who five years ago might have been at 25[,000] are now at 50,” he says; less-prominent names can command $15,000. Throw in book royalties, and a top-ranked guru can reach at least $1 million a year.

Thomas H. Davenport, PhD and management professor at Babson College, compiled a ranking of influential business thinkers for the Wall Street Journal using the same methodology he used in his 2003 book, What’s the Big Idea? At the top of the 2008 list is Dr. Gary Hamel whose website is headlined by “Fortune magazine has labeled Gary Hamel “the world’s leading expert on business strategy” and The Economist calls him “the world’s reigning strategy guru.””

Unfortunately even gurus are not infallible. The first edition of Dr. Hamel’s 2000 book, Leading the Revolution “lionized” Enron Corp but thanks to some nifty editing, they were removed from subsequent printings. It’s not the first nor last time that this type of thing will happen. Seems gurus are human too, only just a little better paid.

For another view of influential business thinkers check out Thinkers 50 where Dr. Hamel currently ranks #5, up from #14 in 2005.

Cross posted in Center for Leader Development and Sea-Fever blogs.

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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