Change management fad surfing
Fad Surfing: The practice of riding the crest of the latest management panacea and then paddling out again just in time to ride the next one; always absorbing for managers and lucrative for consultants; frequently disastrous for organizations. — Eileen Shapiro
The change management toolkit
Take a moment to reflect on where you have already been. Here are some popular change management models and change processes. How many have you tried? How many have been really useful? How do you identify potential time and money wasting fads?
Well? How many of these have you tried, or been involved with? There are gold nuggets in the list for sure, but no silver bullets without serious, hard work, and a clear strategic management focus. With the increasing pressures of business competition, combined very often with board level and/or investor demands for short-term results, busy executives and managers can sometimes fall for the latest management fad. Well why not, especially if an expensive consultant is ‘selling’ its success. Careful! Remember the advice from Chris Argyris on Flawed Advice. Step back and think. Check and test for real results. Follow up those gut-level concerns from yourself and other executives and senior managers. Be wary of consultant hype.
Here’s a partial listing of management models and processes ‘bought’ by many CEO’s, worldwide. How many are potential fads? How many are a true match for your needs and can really work for you?
Activity-based costing (ABC), activity-based management (ABM), balanced scorecard, business process improvement (BPI), business process reengineering (BPR), change management, competitive intelligence, continuous process improvement, critical success factors, critical thinking, decision making, decision support systems, expert systems, financial modeling, futuring, information technology, information management, innovation management, intellectual capital, key management ratios, key result areas, knowledge management, learning organization, management by objectives (MBO), management science, the one-minute manager, organizational development, output-oriented management, process management, process modeling, project finance, project modeling, project management, reliability-centred maintenance (RCM), risk management, scientific management, the secret, six sigma, strategic management, strategic thinking, supply chain management, system dynamics, systems thinking, theory of constraints (TOC), total quality management (TQM), training, value management, who moved my cheese, … … ad infinitum!
Phew! By all means ride the crest of the latest management panacea, but again, beware having to paddle out again just in time to ride the next one. You can waste millions of dollars so quickly. Some of these disciplines will be explored throughout this site, so look around and see what you can take away.
Fad Surfing in the Boardroom – The book and review!
Yes, there really is a book on the theme of Fad Surfing. And an excellent book to help you maintain your critical thinking focus. Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Managing in the Age of Instant Answers by Eileen C. Shapiro, 1995 (see below and sidebar). Highly recommended. Nothing much has really changed over the last decade or more. Business management consulting does not change too quickly. Shapiro’s definition of fad surfing is at the top of this page! Keep it in mind.
Review: Fad Surfing in the Boardroom, Eileen C. Shapiro
This wisely irreverent book for business managers describes “riding the crest of the latest management panacea” in ways that can either make a company more profitable or wreak havoc, depending on how they are applied. Whether Shapiro is describing “vision” or total quality management, she unearths a trove of applications ranging from innovative to whimsical. Then, tongue in cheek, she raises the major players to archetypal status by comparing them with Greek gods. Thus, in an effort to establish a “corporate culture,” one of the fad panaceas, General Electric crafted a climate of employee comfort during the Reginald Jones era but stepped up the pressure when Jack Welch became chairman. In like manner, the Greek god Hermes had changed the culture of the Olympian Council through newfangled deal-making. A business dictionary at the end is strictly for laughs.
Enjoy! We may revisit this topic in future with a video, but for now, keep alert for fad surfers.