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6 Management Myths & Alternate Maxims by Jeanne Ledika

These Six Management Myths to Avoid (and Six Alternate Maxims to Consider) are the courtesy of Jeanne Ledika of Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. These are classic management adages and tenets which don’t work anymore because things are so dynamic these days and their modern alternatives. I first read them in a free pdf by Darden Executive education but the pdf is no longer available (wasn’t the last time I checked) and these maxims are just too precious to be buried under the currents of time and change. So I am sharing them here.

Myth 1: Think big.

Better maxim 1: Be willing to start small — but with a focus on meeting genuine human needs.

Pressure will always exist to be sure an opportunity is big enough, but most really big solutions began small and built momentum. When the Internet was still new, how seriously would you have taken eBay or PayPal? In an earlier era, FedEx seemed tailored for a niche market. To seize growth opportunities, starting small and finding a deep, underlying human need with which to connect is best.

Myth 2: Be bold and decisive.

Better maxim 2: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket — always explore multiple options.

In the past, business cultures were dominated by competition metaphors (those related to sports and war being the most popular). During the 1980s and 1990s, mergers and acquisitions lent themselves to conquest language. Organic growth, by contrast, requires a lot of nurturing, intuition and a tolerance for uncertainty

Myth 3: Don’t ask a question to which you don’t know the answer.

Better maxim 3: Be willing to start in the unknown and learn.

Pressure will always exist to be sure an opportunity is big enough, but most really big solutions began small and built momentum. When the Internet was still new, how seriously would you have taken eBay or PayPal?

Myth 4: Measure twice, cut once.

Better maxim 4: Place small bets fast.

This one works fine in an operations setting, but when the goal is creating an as-yet-unseen future, there isn’t much to measure. And spending time trying to measure the unmeasurable offers temporary comfort but does little to reduce risk.

Myth 5: Sell your solution. If you don’t believe in it, no one will.

Better maxim 5: Choose a worthwhile customer problem, and consider it a hypothesis to be.

When you are trying to create the future, knowing when you have it right is difficult. We think being skeptical of your solution is fine — what you should be certain of is that you’ve focused on a worthy problem. You’ll iterate your way to a workable solution in due time.

Myth 6: If the idea is good, the money will follow.

Better maxim 6: Provide seed funding to the right people and problems, and the growth will follow.

Managers often look at unfunded ideas with disdain, confident that if the idea were good, it would have attracted money on its own merits. The truth about ideas is that we don’t know if they are good; only customers know that. Gmail sounds absurd: free email in exchange for letting a software bot read your personal messages and serve ads tailored to your apparent interests. Who would have put money behind that? The answer, of course, is Google.

Source: The Essential Guide to Design Thinking by Professor Jeanne Liedtka. Darden Executive education. If you like this post, make sure you leave a heart (like), comment and share with your loved ones so they can benefit from this too. Sharing is Caring 🤗❤️.