The Biggest BS in Business--and How to Eliminate It
In preparation for the launch of my new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, I asked seven top business gurus where they see the biggest BS in the business world. Here are their answers, along with suggestions for eliminating the BS:
1. Merely promising good customer service
Sales guru Jeff Gitomer believes that many companies promise good customer service and then don't or can't deliver on that promise. "The worst offenders are airlines," he complains. "Incredibly, JD Powers actually gives airlines awards for customer service. It's absurd."
Solution: Focus on customer loyalty rather than customer service because repeat business is the real measure of whether you're serving your customers well.
2. Believing that growth is easy
Stanford professor Bob Sutton says companies consistently underestimate the amount of time and effort that will be required to scale up as they grow. "The illusion that it's easy and the impatience to get it done combines with incompetence in getting it done," he says. "The result is almost always a disaster."
Solution: Base your strategies and tactics for growth on examples of other companies that have gone through similar transitions.
3. The "winning is everything" attitude
Bestselling author Tom Asacker believes it's BS when companies "become inhuman, heartless, and compassionless." He sees this happening when the decision makers inside a company become obsessed with their goals and forget that work is supposed to be fun.
Solution: Rather than think of goals as something external, think of them as ways to make your business more human and more relevant for customers and employees alike.
4. Long, boring presentations
Peter Handel, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training feels that much of the BS in the workplace is the direct result of people not getting to the point. "They keep on talking, almost as if they want to hear themselves speak rather than communicate something of value to the other person," he explains.
Solution: Cut your presentations down to their essentials and concentrate on what the other person wants and needs to know.
5. Too many meetings
Donald Trump, who needs no introduction, doesn't believe in long meetings, big meetings, or frequent meetings. "I don't think it's an efficient use of time or energy," he says.
Solution: Create a corporate culture where people have the confidence to take action without first discussing it to death.
6. Behaving unethically
Emeritus business professor and author Robert Cialdini sees BS in the way that companies and managers behave unethically while holding their employees, suppliers, and business partners to a higher standard. Cialdini notes that "once you get a reputation for unethical business practices, the only people who will work for or with you are those willing to cheat you in turn."
Solution: Hold yourself and those around you to the highest ethical standard.
7. Passing the buck
Best-selling author Geoffrey Moore says that when he's presenting business ideas to middle management, they often expect him to convince their own bosses that the ideas are good. "That's BS because this is your business and it's your responsibility to convince your management to do the right thing," he says.
Solution: Take responsibility for keeping your management informed and for convincing them to take the right action. If you can't, go work someplace else.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.