Quick wins – or sustained change?

January 14th, 2009  |  Published in Change

snails
Bob Sutton posted this back in December about the hollow language – bullshit, basically – used in business. Top of my queasy list is quick wins and I think it’s the veneer of cheerful plausibility and success without effort that gets my stomach churning. I suppose quick wins aren’t entirely evil – if you are setting out on a new venture where the outcome is uncertain an element of early success is reassuring, so the notion does have some appeal. Back to the downside then: my suspicion is that it’s us change consultants who are mostly responsible for spreading the term, probably lurking as a bullet point on that slide we show to inspire and motivate people as we inch towards the end of a presentations woven into change initiatives – usually shown just before the one with the crappy cartoon figure scratching its head underneath the word questions?

What’s the alternative? Well you might agree with G.K. Chesterton’s “if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly” as a way of tolerating not being magnificent at the first attempt – after all Malcolm Gladwell reckons it takes around 10000 hours of practice to become accomplished – why would we want to create the impression that creating a different future for an organisation comes easily?

Bullshit bonus: Bob’s post has links to bullshit bingo cards and for those of you keen to extend your range of business bullshit resources click here for the ever dependable Dack bullshit generator – never get stuck again when you need a vacuous bullet point.

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