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Hammer's philosophy does not refer to adjusting the knobs on the machinery. Reengineering is radical. It means starting with a clean sheet--if you were going to begin making and selling cars or magazines today, how would you go about it as opposed to how you are doing it now? The answers set in motion a revolution the likes of which hadn't been seen since Henry Ford introduced the assembly line. Like most revolutions, this one has been extremely messy. Such huge firms as Procter & Gamble, Xerox and American Standard have successfully taken a Hammer to their structures.
At the same time, re-engineering has become synonymous with less elegant forms of reorganization, notably downsizing, in which CEOs fire workers wholesale to make a company more "efficient." It can be the management equivalent of cutting off a leg of the chair you are sitting on to save wood. Says Hammer: "It is astonishing to me the extent to which the term re-engineering has been hijacked, misappropriated and misunderstood." He says the goal isn't to eliminate people. Rather, re-engineering makes what they do more valuable and rewarding. The catch: a re-engineered company initially requires fewer workers. Ideally, the firm grows and creates more jobs. Says Hammer: "Re-engineering changes everything: jobs, skills, processes, expectations. I'm not prepared to call that a disadvantage."
Hammer, who lives in Newton, Massachusetts, came to his idea the long way. An electrical engineer and a former M.I.T. computer-science professor, he gradually became more interested in what people were doing than in computers. In his forthcoming book, Beyond Reengineering, he attacks the corporate focus on doing "tasks"--making part of a car, say, or doing a credit check. To him, the key to value-creating work is mastering "process," or how bits of work that form a product or service come together. Says he: "I think this is the work of the angels. In a world where so many people are so deprived, it's a sin to be inefficient."
MARTHA STEWART Empress of "How-To"
Martha Stewart's face is everywhere but on a Wanted poster: in her magazine, on four videos and a dozen books, on TV (twice a day), unofficially on the Internet, at K Mart, and in her catalog (Martha by Mail). In an interview, conducted as she shuttled among her farm in Westport, Connecticut, her two Hampton beach houses on New York's Long Island and her Manhattan office, she says her aim is nothing less than to take over Christmas. "It is our intention to own areas in communication. I don't mean to sound egomaniacal, but Perry Como used to own Christmas on TV. By own I mean monopolize and influence."
She already claimed a chunk of Christmas in 1995 with her Home for the Holidays TV special featuring Hillary Clinton. Many people ceded Easter to her after 1994, when she counseled readers to celebrate by taking a fresh ham, roasting it for five hours and serving it garnished with organically grown grass that had been cut early that morning with the dew still on it. Never mind that most of her magazine's 5 million readers still buy the honey-baked version at Boston Market or, horrors!, take it out of a can. Even the subscribers who don't work may think twice before taking on her October 1994 project: "It occurred to us at MARTHA STEWART LIVING that we had never really focused on the pleasures of raising backyard livestock."