Author(s): David A.J. Axson
Become a better manager by challenging the myths of commonly accepted management wisdom. A humorous review of current management practice with a very serious message, "The Management Mythbuster" makes an entertaining case for questioning much of the conventional wisdom that pervades the corporate world today. Through contrarian and provocative points of view, real world examples and deep analysis, author and management thought leader David Axson offers over a dozen short, pithy commentaries on the important issues in management today such as: short chapters on popular management practices, theories, tools and behaviors; a humorous review of current management practice, with an underlying serious message; and, the fallacies of conventional management wisdom revealed and refuted. It exposes the fallacies of standard management thinking. If you are brave enough, this concise, easily read book is for you, returning a sense of common-sense perspective to the practice of management.
David A.J. Axson, author of Best Practices in Planning and Performance Management (Wiley), is President of the Sonax Group, a business advisory firm. He is a former head of corporate planning at Bank of America and was a cofounder of The Hackett Group. He is a sought-after speaker and writer on business strategy and management and is widely regarded as a thought leader in the industry.
Acknowledgments. About the Author. Preface. About this Book. Introduction. Strategic Plans Are of Little Use in Times of Great Uncertainty and Volatility. Operating Plans and Budgets Provide a False Sense of Security. Management Reporting Is Driven by an Obsolete View of the World. Incentive Compensation Rewards Poor Performance and Penalizes Outstanding Performance. Investments in Staff Education Have Been Inadequate and Misdirected. Technology Has Failed to Improve and in Many Cases Has Reduced the Effectiveness of Management. What I Really Think! Notes. Chapter 1: Missions, Visions, and Other Expensive Pastimes. Fiction: Meeting Room at an Exclusive Country Club, Northern New Jersey-February 2007. Facts: "We Are on a Mission from God". So What? Notes. Chapter 2: Strategy and Other Confusing Stuff. Fiction: The Four Seasons Hotel, Nevis-Early May 2007. Facts: Yes, We Are Very Strategic. Fatally Flawed. So What? Notes. Chapter 3: Gurus, Consultants, and Other Snake Oil Salesman. Fiction: Henry's Office-October 2008. Facts: Are You Renting Bodies or Brains? Objectivity and Independence-No, Not Really! So What? Notes. Chapter 4: Forget Success, Focus on Failure. Fiction: Sustained High Growth in Revenues and Earnings. Facts: Accept Failure, Fear Success. Success Can Be Dangerous for Your Health. The Perils of Being Number One. Forget "In Search of Excellence," How About Excellence Lost? Preparing to Fail. New Coke-A Lesson in Management Excellence-Honestly. IBM-From Survival to Leadership. So What? Notes. Chapter 5: Budgeting-A Modern Vision of Hell (Well, Purgatory at Least). Fiction: Henry Pritchett's Office-Early September 2007. Facts: Not Just a Waste of Time. Detail Does Not Equal Accuracy. Why Do We Plan the Wrong Stuff? Are You on the Road to Hell? Learn to Love the Budget. So What? Notes. Chapter 6: The Futility of Forecasting. Fiction: September 2007. Facts: Forecasts-The Only Certainty Is That They Will Be Wrong. The Extraordinary Is Now Ordinary. Not One Size Fits All. Are Long-Term Forecasts an Oxymoron? Restoring Credibility. So What? Notes. Chapter 7: Total Quality, Six Sigma, Process Re-Engineering and Other Management Fads. Fiction: Quality Is Job 1-April 2006. Facts: The Scourge of Management Communism. Cheap Is Not Always Good. Too Much Process, Not Enough Product. So What? Notes. Chapter 8: New Risks for a New World. Fiction: The Boardroom-April 2007. Facts: Risk Is a Four-Letter Word. Learn from Tiger, Phil, and the Rest. They Were Going to Change the World. Beware Irrelevance. Different Customers, Different Connections. Beware the Noncompetitive Threat. Remember-Stuff Happens. Revenue Volatility Means Down as Well as Up. Reputation Is Everything. So What? Notes. Chapter 9: Pay for Performance? Failure Pays Very Well These Days. Fiction: January 2010. Facts: The Great Incentive Scam. So What? Notes. Chapter 10: Lies, Damn Lies, and Performance Metrics. Fiction: Strategic Alignment-May 2007. Facts: Measurement Mania. Metric of the Month. Single Version of the Truth. The Balanced Scorecard-Yet Another Illusion. Reporting What or Why. Windshield or Rear View Mirror. Beware EBITDA. Traffic Light Syndrome-Should I Stop or Should I Go? So What? Notes. Chapter 11: Leveraging Technology for Competitive Advantage. Fiction: On Time, On Budget-But Irrelevant-February 2008. Facts: Automating Inefficiency Just Gets You Bad Data Faster. Death by Spreadsheet. IT ROI-An Oxymoron. Hype Versus Reality. Cool but Pointless. Whatever Happened to Real-Time Processing? Breaking Down the Barriers. Why Do We Fix Costs in a Variable Revenue World? Centralized or Decentralized? What a Dumb Question! Outsourcing-the Myth and the Reality. So What? Notes. Chapter 12: Why Accountants Rule the World. Fiction: Closing the Books, October 11, 2007. Facts: Death by Accounting and Other Fatal Diseases. Accounting-An Alternative Reality. Accounting Irrelevance. The Myth of Cost Allocations. Making the Numbers or Making The Numbers Up? An Accounting Conspiracy Theory. So What? Notes. Chapter 13: The Synergies Will Be Massive! Fiction: The Myth of Synergy-August 2006. Facts: Synergy-Much Touted, Rarely Realized. Private Equity-It's Really Just a Corporate Enema! So What? Notes. Chapter 14: Talent Matters. Fiction: A Corner Office on the 15th Floor of Cruciant's Headquarters-April 2008. Facts: Talent Factories. All GE Managers Are Gods. Retaining Talent-Not Always a Good Thing. The Illusion of Competence. Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me. The MBA Myth. What Makes a Successful Leader? So What? Notes. Chapter 15: Ask The Dumb Questions. Fiction: May 2007. Facts: Keep It Simple. Isolating Management Stupidity. Follow the Herd. The Parable of the Leaky Valve. So What? Notes. Chapter 16: The Business of Spin. Fiction: Steve Borden's Office-January 2008. Facts: The Business of Spin. What Planet Were They On? Spin Cycle: Citigroup 2006-2009. Southwest Airlines: Succeeding Despite the Market. Tall Poppy Syndrome. Nice Work If You Can Get It. Beyond Spin: Sometimes It Is All Smoke and Mirrors. Spot the Crook. So What? Notes. Epilogue. Cruciant-From Good to Great? January 2010. Index.