So how hot is the next best thing anyway and should we pay attention? After writing my previous post (May 22, 2006) on fads I decided to pose the question to some experts. Here´s what I asked under the heading "avoiding/embracing management fads": What are the dangers of jumping from one management fad to the next? Doesn’t that prevent a manager from focusing on the problems at hand? How can managers be selective when studying and then implementing new management strategies? I’m particularly interested in how these fads affect employee development.
And here´s what some of them said . . .
There are several dangers to jumping from one management fad to the next. Obviously that behavior distracts everyone from the core job. But there are also dangers to personal development.
The fad is often one more thing to learn and one more bit of jargon to master. The result is that the individual and the organization use time and attention that should be devoted to employee development.
True, the time and attention could come from something else but it probably won’t. That’s because actual production tasks and the fad are seen as more urgent that employee development.
Individuals and groups should limit the number of initiatives that they’re working on at any one time. In Jack Welch’s tenure at GE, he had no more than four major initiatives in 24 years. Limiting your initiatives allows you to concentrate on developing in important ways that take time.
-Wally Bock, www.threestarleadership.com
Everyone is looking for the next big thing to allow them to stand out as exceptional managers. The trouble with jumping from one fad to the next is that managers may be sending mixed signals to their employees.
-Suzanne Bates, www.bates-communications.com, author of "Speak Like a CEO: Secrets to Commanding Attention and Getting Results"
There is a distinct irony occurring in the business community on the topic of leadership and management, and it is revealed in answering the question of why the popularity of the subject prevails, and in such seemingly short bursts? What is feeding this type of appetite? Is it that people know what they are looking for and want a deeper and broader knowledge of the subject? Or is it the feeling that they need something, that it is generally not provided to them, but they do not know what it is? People promoted to the executive and managerial ranks rarely receive training, coaching, or even advice on how to navigate at the top of the food chain and ensure that they are not undermined by unmet expectations that are implicit in every promotion. The only good news is that most companies seem to wait about a year before deciding, through no role of their own, that certain people just aren’t meeting the expectations that were set when they were promoted or hired, but the bad new is that in the meantime, so many of these folks are getting their training at the bookstore. As expressed by a senior executive to me in recent weeks — “why doesn’t the company realize that we need help at the top learning how to work together as a team and run the company more effectively?” I told him that I didn’t know the answer; I was until waiting for it to come out in paperback.
-Steve Katz, www.liontaming.com, author, "Lion Taming: Working Successfully with Leaders, Bosses, and other Tough Customers" (Sourcebooks, 2004)