Monday, 2 November 2009

Do we really need Business Gurus? Do we need Gurus in Selling?

Selling is much about learning from your clients yet entrepreneur Henry Ford pointed out that if he had listened to his customers he would have built a better horse and buggy.

London to Brighton Veteran Car rally November 2009.

In the Schumpeter column in the Economist 24th October 2009 issue there was an articulate swipe at Gurus under the title “The three habits of highly irritating management gurus. “

In their rifle sights were the authors and perhaps rather easy targets of Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People/ families etc.....) , Tom Peters ( In search of excellence (1982)) and author Jim Collins.

The three habits lampooned by Schumpeter were
1. Presenting stale ideas as breathtaking breakthroughs ( Common sense made complicated)
2. Citing model firms ( as best practice)
3. Flogging of management tools off the back (systems. Processes and “rules” etc) (The bracketed comments are my distillation of lengthier expositions in the article).

The Schumpeter column concluded:- “If management could indeed be reduced to a few simple principles, then we would have no need for management thinkers. But the very fact it defies easy solutions leaving mangers in a perpetual angst means there will always be demands for books like Mr Covey’s.”

Such lampooning could also be directed to the myriad of Sales Books on the bookshelves but I know will be back to the bookshops to buy them and read them and even the magazine racks to pick up my Economist.

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How useful do you find Business Gurus?

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