A humorous recipe for rabbit stew went into extensive detail concerning spices and cooking. It began with "Catch a rabbit."
Many management books are like that. They provide good information about everything but the hardest part. There can be an irritating smugness in the authors' willingness to gloss over the very section that most readers will find challenging.
You tell me to focus on the most important things? How do I know what's truly important?
You urge that I get close to employees and then four pages later emphasize the importance of detachment. Where's the boundary?
A reason for the vagueness, of course, is that any management advice in a book is written in an isolation chamber. The authors don't know the background or specific circumstances of the readers and one seemingly small item can make a big difference.
Great chefs follow recipes, but they also sense when to make modifications. Those alterations may provide a special flair. Through experience, they know 50 different ways to "catch a rabbit."
It would be nice if some management writers mentioned one or two.
My favorite recipe for success:
1. Start with an Idea
2. Do stuff
3. Enjoy Success
I'm going to print that out and put it on the wall!
It reminds my of the Monty Python skit "How to Do Things" which described how to play a flute (blow into this end and run your fingers over the holes) and how to cure all known disease (Discover a cure and then tell the world to use it). Amazingly biting humor even 3 decades later.
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