Remembering Dr. Michael Hammer

September 12, 2008  

I just learned a few minutes ago that Dr. Michael Hammer, the father of business reengineering and author of the best-seller, “Reengineering the Corporation,” passed away last week at the age of 60.

I worked closely with Dr. Hammer in the mid-1990 when I worked at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).  Dr. Hammer and his (then) side-kick, Steve Stanton, helped me and my team develop our Process Excellence Principles.

One of his contributions was a video he developed for us.  While in his office, we turned a camera on, and he rattled off the most amazing 30 minute speech, without any preparation or any retakes.  This video, cut into smaller vignettes, became a highlight of our day long training sessions we delivered to over 20,000 people around the world.

I also had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with him on a couple of occasions.  His speeches were awe inspiring and content-packed.  I have yet to see a presenter who has impressed me more.  I always thought of him a role model.

I remember one time I introduced Dr. Hammer as the “father of re-engineering.”  When he took the stage, he quipped, “I often hear that I am the father.  My wife wants to know, who is the mother?”

In some respects, I should thank Dr. Hammer for the life I have now.  I was one of the leaders of Andersen Consulting’s reengineering practice.  If it weren’t for Hammer, that great opportunity would not have been created.  That work gave me the chance to travel the world giving speeches since 1992.  But it was only after spending time with Hammer a few years later did I really find my love of the stage. 

I remember back in November 1996, someone asked me where I wanted to be in 5 years.  I responded, “I want to be the Michael Hammer of the next business wave.”  5 years later, nearly to the day, my first book hit the book stores and I left Accenture for the life I have now.

Thank you Dr. Hammer.

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One Response to “Remembering Dr. Michael Hammer”

  1. shariharley on September 15th, 2008 11:09 pm

    In the news coverage of the mayhem on Wall Street today there was some interesting dialogue about investments and innovation. How firms must innovate to grow. It’s an interesting look at how commodities, debt, etc. are structured in the name of innovation. Could be an interesting blog….