My 100-year review of management ideas reveals little progress, many false beliefs—and a handful of critical practices
We live in a VUCA world. The role and responsibilities of companies are different today than they were in the past. Many of the challenges they face are unprecedented. And they, more than any other social institution will determine our future.
Yet despite managers’ best efforts, most firms continue to underperform, and struggle to produce consistent results.
And the management ideas industry is not helping.
Essential. Provocative. Practical.
The most pressing management need of our time is to know and apply the practices that make the difference between winning and losing in business. Over the past century, countless experts have packaged and peddled a truly astonishing amount of management advice. But the outcome of their efforts is more often than not another minor tweak to existing knowledge rather than the invention of something new.
Meanwhile, managers confuse themselves in a constant quest for the “silver bullets” that might save their bacon and bring them success. And “the tyranny of tools” causes chaos and confusion in organizations at the very time when clarity and simplicity matter more than ever.
Fortunately, though, we know what works. And this book spells it out.
Management fads are like sand in the gears of most organisations. But my long and ongoing study of management thought leadership has enabled me to identify the practices that really matter, and explain why you need to master, embed, and relentlessly apply them in your company. This will guide you towards doing the right things right away, and ensure that your strategic conversation is properly framed and focused. It will also help you put whatever new ideas you come across into perspective, and evaluate them sensibly as you try them.
PART ONE: WHERE WE ARE
Chapter 1: What Really Matters—A summary of what I sought to learn, how I went about it, and what I found.
Chapter 2: Reset!—The new business environment, why global economic growth could remain sluggish, why it’s imperative that companies improve their performance, and why they cannot rely on management innovation as a game-changer.
Chapter 3: Hoping and Groping and Chapter 4: Blockbusters Bust—The seduction of management tools, and why you should avoid fads and flavors-of-the-month.
Chapter 5: Think Generic, Act Specific—Why management ideas matter, why managers chase after them, and why it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t.
Chapter 6: The Thinkers—Who creates management ideas, and why they so often fail.
Chapter 7: Strategy Stalled, Chapter 8: People First, and Chapter 9: Leadership Lost—An overview of the origin and evolution of key ideas about strategy, people management, and leadership, and the lack of real progress in all of them.
Chapter 10: So Far, So Blah!—How the champions of “management innovation” have failed to change the fundamentals of management.
PART TWO: THE WAY FORWARD
Chapter 11: Essential Principles and Chapter 12: The Critical Practices—Important principles of management, and further explanation of the eight critical strategy practices.
Chapter 13: Implications for Business Schools—What the argument in this book could mean for the future of business education.
Appendix: What Popular Studies Tell Us—Checklists from recent bestselling management books.
Contact me today to start a new strategic conversation
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