“Weeding out the wankers” – Part 8

This book can be purchased at: http://ijgbooks.com/weeding.html

Today lets take a look at Chapter 7: “Commoditizing Leadership”


This chapter is all about the infinite number of books that have been written by successful industry leaders with a solution to all of your companies problems. Ibrahim refers to one in particular, but there are a number that I have read.

Some that come to mind are “Crossing the Chasm, Inside the tornado, Good to Great, Who says Elephants can’t dance, In Search of Excellence, A Passion for Excellence, The Innovator’s Dilemma”, and the list goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, all of these books have good ideas, but implementing an idea and making it successful, really depends on the people and business involved. Many of the solutions are sensitive to the state of the product, the industry, and general mood of the customers. I remember reading “A passion for Excellence” and being completely sold on the concepts.

When I tried to explain this to a good friend Jim Mackie, he pointed out that all of the companies in the book, had since fallen on hard times. It was clear that more than just a passion for excellence was required.

Ibrahim makes a good point on page 92:

“The travesty is, however, that organizations respond to crisis by implementing new systems and procedures that deliver no value to their clients.”

I have witnessed this several times over the course of my career when large companies have had to down size. Processes are put in place and become almost a religion. If people question the religion, they are excommunicated. In many cases the processes existed for the larger company and really don’t apply effectively to the new smaller company.

Ibrahim sums up this chapter with a few more things to look out for:

“So if you are asked to implement a process that will cause you grief with no explicit explanation on the overall benefits, the new process is a wanker.

If you are told there is a magical solution to real problems that have been festering for years, leave it as a sequel for ‘Jack and the Bean Stock’, rather than submitting to the preposterous theory of a wanker.

And if you are told that cosmetic surgery will make you a smarter person, you are either talking to a cosmetic surgeon, or a bona fide wanker.”

And that sums up chapter 7.

Note that I still read industry centric self help books, but I tend to read more between the lines than what it written. I do recommend 100 Days by James Bagnall which is not a self help book but more of a detailed account of the travesty that resulted in the demise of Nortel.

Have a good weekend and see you next week.

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