By | ALEXANDER | positivesharing.com
Much well-known business advice is sadly obsolete but can still be found in articles, business books and, not least, in daily use in the workplace. It seems that some companies are still guided by thinking that is sadly out of date – if it was ever true to begin with.
The worst of these old maxims are not only wrong, they’re bad for people and bad for business. Businesses who use them are making their employees unhappy and are harming the bottom line.
Here’s my pick of the top 5 business maxims in serious need of an update – with a suggested replacement for each.
UPDATE: Now there’s also a Part II post with 5 more horrendous pieces of business advice.
Old maxim #1: Failure is not an option
Meaning: We absolutely, positively must succeed.
Guess what: No matter how many times you repeat this maxim, failure remains an option. Closing your eyes to this fact only makes you more likely to fail. Putting pressure on people to always succeed makes mistakes more likely because:
- People who work under pressure are less effective
- People resist reporting bad news
- People close their eyes to signs of trouble
This is especially true when it’s backed up with punishment of those who make mistakes. Peter Drucker provocatively suggested that businesses should find all the employees who never make mistakes and fire them, because employees who never make mistakes never do anything interesting. Admitting that mistakes happen and dealing constructively with them when they do makes mistakes less likely.