The fad-free management diet

Fad-Free Management Flickr user bsabarnowl

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY It's big news and it's all over the internet: A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that a diet based on healthy carbohydrates -- similar to a Mediterranean diet of fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains and healthy fats like olive oil -- is better for you than a low-fat or low-carb diet.

And this is news? We've known this for decades. It's how I've eaten for as far back as I can remember. It's how nearly all the healthy people I know eat.

Yes, I know, I'm forgetting about the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Low-Fat Diet, Low-Carb Diet, Beverly Hills Diet, Hollywood Diet, Acai Berry Diet, and all those other diet fads that come and go because everyone wants a quick fix these days.

The only problem is quick fixes and fad diets don't work. Common sense works. It's the same thing with leadership, management, your career. It's exactly the same. The way to achieve a lasting competitive advantage, a high-performance organization, a successful business, or a fulfilling career, is through common sense and hard work - not fads and silver bullets.

Meanwhile, we're bombarded with book after book, blog after blog, website after website, and article after article about the one, seven or 10 things that will magically change your career or your company, make all the bad stuff go away and make everything wonderful.

Doesn't that sound remarkably like diets that promise to make your pounds just effortlessly melt away and leave you looking like someone from People magazine's Most Beautiful list?

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Here's an idea: Instead of the latest management fad; instead of all the Utopian platitudes and parables about leadership; instead of the endless obsessing over productivity, time management, employee engagement, emotional intelligence, other people's habits, personal branding, positive thinking, burnout, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z or how to be like Steve Jobs; why not try a little common sense for a change.

Here's the leadership, management and career equivalent of that old Mediterranean diet we've all known about forever. Let's just call it the Fad-Free Management Diet: 10 ingredients to business health and career success. Best of all, it's fad-free.

- Make smart decisions based on real-world experience, logical reasoning and solid ideas that pass the laugh test.

- Face your fears with courage and humility; work like you have nothing to lose, not like you have to hold onto what you have.

- Create an innovative product or service that solves a big problem or meets an important need better than anything else out there.

- Do whatever it takes to win and keep customers.

- Have genuine passion for your work.

- Go above and beyond to do your job to the best of your ability and get things done with a positive, can-do attitude.

- Treat everyone -- your boss, employees, coworkers, peers, customers, vendors, partners, everyone -- the way you think you deserve to be treated.

- Figure out what you really want to do for a living that will make you happy.

- Stop hoping, wishing and dreaming and start planning, doing and executing.

- Stop searching for the easy way out: Trying to figure out how to game the system and get more than you deserve in less time and with less work. There's no such thing.

It may not be easy, it may not have a cool brand name, it may not be trendy or sexy, but just like the food groups suggested by that old familiar Mediterranean diet, it's what actually works.

If you focus on these 10 things and forget about all the fads, you've got a pretty good chance of coming out on top. It's common sense, we've always known it, and if it's news to you, it's about time.

Image courtesy Flickr user bsabarnowl

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