Avoid the Strategy of the Month Club

You bought “Lean Startup” at Hudson News and used the word ‘iterate’ in every meeting for six months. “Reinventing Organizations” blew your mind and now you‘re threatening everyone to go Teal or else. You found a copy of “Good to Great” in your Airbnb and couldn’t stop asking everyone to show you their hedgehog. You doodled a whole notebook of Golden Circles after you read “Start With Why.” And after you read Seth Godin’s “Tribes,” no new idea was good enough if it wasn’t a social movement.

Please don’t manage your team or business by the last book you read.

Reading is great. We think leaders should be readers. Go ahead, challenge your attention span. Get an outside perspective. Learn something new. Reading is awesome. Physical books smell like interesting old people!

But stop capping off each read with a missive to your team demanding they read it, adopt it, and live their lives by it.

Why?

  1. Your team is probably overworked, overstimulated, and wishing you’d listen to them instead of one more academic treatise or over-promising sales pitch.
  2. Business books are almost always tactical. They teach a new skill but they don’t answer the big question — the value you should be delivering to your customer. Answering that takes real, concerted, up-close work with the people you serve.

Read a ton, but listen more. There are more substantial and enduring epiphanies to be had by listening.

And if you want to try something from a book, ask your team to share their thoughts first and then work to develop an experiment. Just because an author (even us) strung pretty words in a coherent order doesn’t mean the idea is sound in every context.

 

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EssaysBud Caddell