Twenty six thousand two hundred eighty hours and more. Yes, that is how long I have been working with businesses as a strategic advisor. Long enough to come across the most common business management myths that ruin innovation and growth. These myths hinder decision making.
In this article, I will share three business management myths that I’ve encountered several times in my consulting career.
The 3 Business Management Myths
- The History Buff: We’ve done this in the past, does not work
- The Disciplinarian: This is not how we do this OR This is how we do it
- The Frog in the Well: This will not work for our business
The History Buff
Some people have a lot of faith in the saying “history repeats itself”. One of the common business management myths – “we have done this in the past, didn’t work.“
Have been through this in countless business meetings.
- Someone suggests posting job ads on LinkedIn. Response – “we did this a year ago. Never received relevant applications. This does not work”
- Suggestion to sponsor a local sporting event. Response – “never worked before. Remember the last college football league we sponsored. Zero sales and follow-ups”
- Hire a freelancer for blog writing. Response – “Very expensive and never got original content. A complete waste of time.”
We expect others and ourselves to learn from mistakes. Not to stop attempting something because we failed at it once.
It takes multiple attempts to hit the bull’s eye.
Never let anyone tell you that “this does not work” because they’ve failed at it once. Be it in life or in business.
Why something may work or not work depends on the context, the timing, the resources and most important – the execution.
When something does not work, or even if you get positive results, take sometime to assess what worked and what didn’t. Ask Why?
Don’t abandon and stop trying. Instead, learn from the experience and the mistakes.
One of the worst managers to work for – someone who always wants you to do as told. Both the what and how.
Forget innovation and creativity at work if all managers were to be from this category.
Their response to a new way of doing something – “This is not how we do it” or pushing a certain approach down your throat – “This is how we do it”.
The Disciplinarian is not open to options.
There’s no one way to doing things. There is always a better approach. Better sales calls, better proposals, better product packaging, better code, better email, better, better and better.
Don’t get stuck at doing something a certain way just because you’ve been getting results. Why wait to fail? Yahoo, Nokia, Xerox – they all did certain things a certain way. Should have changed course earlier. Now those were some big fails in business history. Yours could be a smaller context. Nonetheless, get rid of one of the most common business management myths.
Always explore better, more innovative and creative approach to a task. Kill monotony.
The Frog In The Well
Some stay in isolation. Like the frog in the well. Unaware of the fast changing world outside the well.
They have their own rules, guidelines and processes. If a kind bird attempts to pick a bright idea from a nearby pond or faraway ocean and flies all the way to drop the idea in the well, what does the frog do?
He drowns the idea in the water in the well.
Why? Cause “this does not work for us”.
Did you know that the printing industry solved the challenge of developing low cost refillable ink cartridges thanks to the beer industry?
Oh yes. The product thinktank for the printing company had given up on the idea of developing a low cost cartridge. Without this solution, they couldn’t have turned printers into a mass home product.
So they took a break from the brainstorming and had a few rounds of drink – chilled beer in cans. As they threw empty cans in the bin, they had their eureka moment – How can the beer company afford to manufacture cheap cans for beer?
Yes – the beer industry solved problems for the printing industry. The material used for the can gave them ideas for what material to be used for low cost refillable ink cartridges.
This was one interesting story. There are countless others.
I work with businesses from several industries – carrying best practices from one to another.
Try telling this to the Frog in the well – he will stick out his tongue to mock you.
Do you want to be that frog in the well? I bet no.
Always be comfortable with change. Change is constant, change brings innovation and growth.
The ones who get stuck with rigid ways of managing business operations stagnate with time. There are several bad management practices and myths. This article was to encourage you to not be aligned with these three business management myths:
- We have done this, didn’t work
- This is how we do this OR this is not how we do this
- This will not work for our business or industry
Be inquisitive and question suggestions. Neither reject them nor follow them without due diligence. But, be open to new ideas and best practices from other companies and industries.