Wednesday, April 25

The Myths of Management 

From Sales & Marketing Management's PERFORMANCE Newsletter:

Corporate ideology can be inspirational. It can be a company's guiding light. And it can also lead the way towards shaky, even harmful management practices. In their book "Hard Facts: Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense," Stanford professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Rober I. Sutton uncover some of the mythologies of management.

"The catalogue of poor decision practices is immense, but we focus here on three of the most common and in our experience, most harmful to companies," they write.

They are:

* Casual Benchmarking: Too often, companies seek to copy the successful practices of another enterprise without fully understanding the complex underpinnings of the process. The result is often mindless imitation. For example, many companies look at the success of Southwest Airlines and seek to emulate its performance by copying some of the most obvious practices, such the casual attire of its gate agents and other employees. But the practice ignores the underlying element of Southwest's success, which is its culture and management philosophy.

* Doing what (seems to have) worked in the past: There's nothing wrong with learning from experience. But repeating a process that worked before is only useful if the new situation calls for the same kind of action. Blind repetition is not good management.

* Following deeply held, yet unexamined ideologies: Never let belief trump evidence. Require proof, not passion. Be willing to gather data that pertains to your choices as well as others.

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