Monday, March 10, 2008

Clear as Mud

One of my pet peeves in management books is when the author describes a scenario in a manner that would indicate the conclusion was obvious when you know it was anything but.

For example:

Ralph's Fried Roadkill Restaurant collapsed almost as soon as it opened. Although a dose of common sense would have told a more sober decision maker that the restaurant's name was lethal, Ralph was determined to forge ahead with his dream. In business, names can reassure or shock and Ralph picked the latter. The dreamer learned the value of choosing well-trod paths.

But, with a little imagination, you can just as easily think of this paragraph:

Ralph's Fried Roadkill Restaurant was a success from the day it opened. Although a dose of common sense would have told a more sober decision maker that the restaurant's name was lethal, Ralph knew that in today's highly competitive fast food business, being conventional is risky. "That name was worth a million dollars of free publicity," Ralph declares. "If I'd followed everyone else, we'd have had to close within two weeks. People were laughing when they arrived and laughing when they left. You've probably seen our t-shirts."

Note to business writers: You can always hit a bullseye if you draw the dart board after the darts have been thrown.

2 Comments:

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous pawnking said...

Well put. Very well put.

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...

Thanks! Those of us who plow through a lot of business books frequently see this.

 

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