This past Sunday’s Dilbert comic was about context . . . sort of.
I'm a big believer in context, and while what Dilbert does can be labeled as providing context, it's mainly a mean, but true diatribe. This isn’t to say I didn’t laugh out loud at it, because I did - more than once.
Is "That" New Business Book the New Magic Answer?
So putting the mean part of it to the side, what is TRUE in Sunday’s Dilbert?
The idea any one management, leadership, or specialized new business book is the new magic answer to anything.
It may well be part of the answer, but never the sole answer.
You definitely run into people, however, who have read this or that new business book and believe it's important enough to reorient their professional or organizational direction around a single author’s perspective. This has always been, to me, one of the primary symptoms of morphfiends – people who constantly change strategic direction because they have no strategic foundation. The morphfiends I’ve known are notorious for reading the latest management book and wanting everyone in the organization to not only read it, but start planning or managing by it.
In the corporate world, you'd see a variety of C-level leaders, particularly at business unit levels, go through this syndrome. When it happens, it’s a great deal for author/speakers. Our business booked or hired Jim Collins, C.K. Prahalad, Bill Davidson, and others as event speakers or consultants because of their big message business books.
EVERYTHING you read and experience, however, CAN become PART of your strategic, leadership, and management tapestry. You should be developing your personal strategic tapestry from continually expanding influences. Soon after you start (or re-start) your strategic tapestry, it should become unique to you since it reflects the collection of learning experiences only you have had.
So when you read a great new business book, definitely draw from it and support or challenge what you believe based on the points the author makes. Figure out how to turn the ideas in the book into strategy, planning, and implementation structures you and others can use (because very few books do this for you). But never think one author has delivered the new magic answer just for you. - Mike Brown