Not my choice of language but "Management Advice: Which 90% is Crap?", a short ebook by Robert Sutton, a professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford Engineering School, makes interesting reading.
Who Is Robert Sutton?
Robert Sutton is the best selling author, with Jeffrey Pfeffer, of "The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Firms Turn Knowledge Into Action and Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths", and "Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management".
He is also the author of "Weird Ideas that Work: 11 ½ Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation."
Old Wine In New Bottles
I try to be very careful about showing my influences and giving credit where it is due.
I see myself as a synthesiser of ideas with the occasional innovative twist and in my promotional activities on this site, I try not to get carried away.
There are some great business development products that I believe can really help you if you find the right one and the style of presenting the information suits you and you are motivated to take action.
I don't believe there is any one best solution but I also know that you can't hop from one guru or expert to the next unless you spend your life thinking about business and management advice.
So the great new thing could be old wine in new bottles.
Finding the Rubbish
Robert Sutton presents five things to consider:
- Treat old ideas as if they are old ideas
- Be suspicious of breakthrough ideas and studies - he reports that Nobel laureates present their ideas as building on the foundations of others, while "gurus" claim breakthroughs.
- What are the incentives for the people who are selling you the idea?
- Are they telling you that "all the best companies" or "most of the Fortune 500" do it?
- Does it seem too obvious?
Definitely an interesting idea and one that I have a lot of sympathy with.
There is nothing fancy about my Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity, they just take you from where you are (pillar 1) to where you want to go (pillar 2) with what you have to do outside your company with customers (pillars 3 to 6) and inside your business with your team and systems (pillars 7 and 8).
Where I disagree is in the impact of the presentation and the ability to move someone into purposeful action.
It is not the idea that is valuable and creates profit but the successful actions taken based on the idea.
You can hear an idea from one person and it doesn't connect. It doesn't seem relevant. You don't see it as important.
But hear the same idea from someone else, presented in a more emphatic way and your mind can be flooded with ideas for how you can use the idea and you start implementing immediately.
That is where the value comes in.
Struggling with your business because you don't know the techniques is sad. Great information is out there and perhaps this ebook could make you more resistant. That would be a shame. It is making business unnecessarily tough if you have to invent everything yourself.
But paying for the advice and not listening. Buying the training program but not implementing. Understanding the ideas but not acting - that is where the true waste comes.
It's certainly a problem I can have and it's why I've written a couple of blogs about the dangers of being a business advice junkie.
Download Management Advice: Which 90% is Crap?
You can download Management Advice: Which 90% is Crap? free of charge.
It may damage the marketing but there aren't magic pills and silver bullets. There are proven methods that work...but work is often the key word.