Bosses in love with claptrap and blinded by ideologies

Simon Caulkin in The Observer:

Heroic leaders are a disaster. Seventy per cent of mergers fail. In most organisations, financial incentives cause more problems than they solve. There is no connection between high executive pay and company performance (well, there is – the wider the pay differentials, the lower the commitment of the less well paid). The main result of many consultancy assignments is another consultancy assignment. All ‘silver bullet’ or ‘big ideas’ on their own are wrong.

These are not theories, but facts. Yet companies trip over themselves to buy others, launch change initiatives, introduce pay for performance, flit from one big idea to the next – and pay their CEOs stratospherically. It’s hardly surprising so many go belly up. If doctors were as cavalier with the evidence, a lot of their patients would be dead and many medics would be behind bars.

The last is a line from what bids fair to be one of the management books of the year. Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense (Harvard Business School Press), by Stanford professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton, is a compelling tour of management conventional wisdom and why it so often turns out to be unwise, untrue and a stranger to fact – bollocks, in fact. Every potential manager should be made to read it before they are allowed to be in charge of anything, even a whelk stall.

More here.