How Google Prepares for Nimble Competitors

The Wall Street Journal looks at two case studies on Google’s management culture. Time will tell if their structure will lead to continued success, or missteps; but it is interesting to see the ways they are preparing to compete with nimble upstarts:

“Mr. Hamel argues that Google’s innovations go beyond the fine points of search-engine algorithms — extending into big, enduring aspects of general management. The Mountain View, Calif., company is packed with intriguing, distinctive ways of running itself, he says. These include radical decentralization; small, self-managing teams; a just-try-it approach to rolling out new products before they are fully finished; and a willingness to let engineers spend sizable chunks of time on offbeat projects.”

“Put it together, Mr. Hamel contends, and Google is committed to building a company that can evolve as fast as the Web. That is crucial in today’s turbulent business climate. Old ways stop working. Powerful new rivals pop up in the most unexpected places. Many well-established companies, even renowned ones, thrash helplessly as traditional strategies lose their potency.”