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10 of the Biggest Management Myths

1. We are working harder than ever. 24/7 at least. When were you last caught in the 8:15 rush hour on a Sunday morning? How easy is it to set up meetings starting at 7pm or 7am? The average working year is 1,650 hours (nearer to 2,000 for professionals) versus more than 3,000 hours during the Industrial Revolution. Incredibly, life might be getting better.

2. The paperless office. Ha ha ha. Mixing computers and printers breeds paper faster than bunnies on Viagra. Forests of the world: be afraid, be very afraid.

3. We believe in loyalty, passion and commitment. That means we expect you to be 100 percent loyal and committed until we decide to downsize, offshore, outsource and fire you. The loo cleaners are definitely meant to be passionate about toilet bowls, preferably thinking globally at the same time.
4. Putting people first. That's when we are not putting customers first, shareholders first, the environment first, profits first and my bonus and promotion first.

5. We believe in trust and empowerment, which is why we spend record amounts on IT to measure, monitor and control you. You have nothing to hide so you have nothing to fear, do you?

6. Customer focus (when not putting people first, see No. 4 above). Call centre hell is exceeded only by Web help horror. If we name the Web help "customer empowerment" perhaps no one will notice that we can not be bothered to speak to our customers. That allows us to focus on the only customer who really matters: our boss.

7. Competitive organisation. This one could even be true. All organisations are competitive. But the real competition is not external, the real competition is sitting in a cubicle near you, ready to push their projects over yours, ready to grab your bonus and promotion.

8. Excellence. The search for excellence is like searching for smoke signals in the fog. It is an exercise in futility. Most organisations are fighting against the forces of entropy and chaos. You do not have to be excellent to win. You simply have to be less incompetent than your rivals.

9. Strategic intent, core competence, blue ocean strategy, value curves, co-creation and all the other fads of gurus and business schools. They are quick fixes for weak managers who lack the intelligence and courage to work out solutions for themselves. And the fads have all the intellectual integrity of an octopus reading tarot cards.

10. The biggest myth of all. This is the one which you will identify and report below. No money, no glory, no fame for your efforts... just like most work.

(Pic: quinn.anya CC.20)

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