The book Orbiting the Giant Hairball was written by Gordon MacKenzie in 1996. Originally self-published the book became a business "cult classic". Gordon was an employee of Hallmark Cards for 30 years, where he inspired his colleagues to slip the bonds of Corporate Normalcy and rise to “orbit” - to a mode of dreaming, daring, and doing above and beyond the rubber-stamp confines of the administrative mind-set. As a testament to his career and the level of creativity he maintained while at Hallmark, his final position title was “Creative Paradox” for Hallmark Cards.
Through short stories and personal observations and experiences, MacKenzie provides insight into maintaining a creative, entrepreneurial culture within the structured and potentially constricting environment of an organization, and society as a whole. He defines “the giant hairball” as a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules and systems that are based on what worked in the past and which can lead to mediocrity in the present. He points out that this “hairball” is built over time without members of the firm understanding that it is even there or its potential to negatively effecting the firm’s ability to remain flexible and creative.
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MacKenzie 1996 Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Viking Pg. 145
MacKenzie 1996 Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Viking Pg. 104
MacKenzie 1996 Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Viking Pg. 139
MacKenzie 1996 Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Viking Pg. 87
Robert E Hoskisson, Michael A. Hitt, R. Duane Ireland, Jeffrey S. Harrison, 2008 Competing on Advantage, second edition. Thomson, South-Western. Chapter 12
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