Why Management Trends Quickly Fade Away

June 26, 2006

Phred Dvorak wrote a nice piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, Why Management Trends Quickly Fade Away. He was exploring why management fads such as Total Quality Management (TQM), business process reengineering, and others come by storm and then quickly fade away.

Lack of Expertise The Culprit
The academic researchers seemed to point a bit of the blame at business consultants who fashion surf, or jump on to what ever seems hot at the time, although they don’t really have any specific expertise. (They might be generalists. . .)

That lack of specific expertise may be the reason many of those projects failed, potentially causing the fading out of the fad.

Specialists Actually Deliver
Dvorak writes that some companies may have actually begun seeing success with “fad” projects just as the fad was fading. Why? Companies were actually able to engage consultants who specialized in the particular fad or practice.

When studying technical communication, I remember the A-HA moment I had when I realized “I’m actually going to have to understand this stuff to write about it!” For some reason I had thought that my craft was writing. That was only half of it. The other half was about learning. I had to know what I was talking about before I could communicate it. Sounds simple, but I guarantee you there are plenty out there writing things about which they don’t fully understand.

Weed Out the Posers
So, what are the implications of this article for those seeking external marketing resources? You have to weed out the posers. You have to figure out who really understands what you do, who has the history, who can talk about relevant case studies, and who actually has the ability to understand your target audiences. Typically they’ll be able to talk about results they’ve delivered as well.

Now to catch up on the World Cup and Wimbledon. . .



  1. Missed the Dvorak article (source please?). Not a “new world symphony” of ideas, but a good reminder all the same.

  2. Thanks!
    And keep up the good “common sense” work!

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