Monday, May 17, 2010

What's Wrong With Following Business Trends?

It's interesting how companies react to business trends. Williams Edward Deming, in helping Japan in the 1960's coined the term, Total Quality Management. U.S. businesses everywhere would come later singing the praises and implementing TQM in the early 1980's. Then in 1989 Stephen Covey wrote a book called, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Businesses were soon running around giving training and encouraging the concepts found in the book. And more recently, new business ideas come with their own set of business jargon such as flat organization, shared governance, and strategic initiatives. But the problem with following business trends is not with the trends.

I've noticed something interesting when certain companies try to implement the newest business trends. Although there are some people within the organization who have a very knowledgeable and understanding approach with new business ideas, many decision-makers only have a superficial understanding. And a lot of the decision-makers hire people who have little investment in understanding or changing what they've already been used to doing. So, when new ideas are used in the workplace, they become facades for doing business as usual, or worse.

For example, instead of caring about quality from the top-down — and about the actual product being produced — some leaders are happier discussing quality. And to make matters worse, these leaders prefer harassing their workforce to be more productive producing quality. It's basically a "We told you to do, so do it!" approach. It's like waving magical fairy dust at the problem, and thinking, "if I just say the right words, push the right buttons, and kick the right people my profits will soar."

Face it, the problem is that very few business administrators and leaders want to put forth the effort to make real changes in their businesses because they don't want to change themselves. (Although they don't mind making changes for the people under them.) So, some leaders are better off not even reading about making their businesses better, unless they are willing to lead by example rather than by edict.


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