Some leaders get overly excited about the next new thing.
After reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a TED Talk, they feel compelled to implement their new learning inside the organization and within the team. They tell everyone about the new insight and begin to rally support behind an idea or program that, if sustained, might add some value.
But they don’t stay with it, and everyone knows it.
They lead with fads, not because the ideas are without merit, but because they hop from one idea or author to another, falling in love with the newest and hottest button to push on the team.
Team members have seen this movie before, and they know just what to do: Feign interest and wait until this temporary insanity passes. It always does. No need to take this idea more seriously than the last dozen or so big ideas the leader has decided to foist upon the group. They know the pattern all too well.
Faddish leaders hurt their credibility each time they embrace the next new thing. Without sticking with an idea, strategy, or tactic all the way through execution, they undermine the team’s ability to benefit from contemporary thinking.
Their excitement may be genuine, but their inability to stay the course for more than a few weeks means the team will simply wait them out without taking any new initiative seriously. This makes the leader less believable and is a tremendous waste of time.
Leaders who follow fads usually don’t recognize how many times they have repeated the same pattern. They rightly are looking for the next edge or best new practice. Unfortunately, they leave the last big idea in short order so they can embrace the latest lightning bolt which seems so much more powerful. They seem to have short-term memory loss. They quickly abandon what they got so excited about last month for a better idea this month.
Breaking a faddish leader of this pattern is no easy task. Doing so requires a team to quickly create a strategy and plan to execute on a given idea. Creating a detailed plan for implementation before the leader jumps to another idea is a big step forward. When presented with a program for executing on an idea they are still excited about, faddish leaders will normally succumb to the pressure of staying the course. Maintaining focus on a good idea benefits everyone.
Management fads take hold because of faddish leaders. The good news is that when fads fade away, the leaders who embrace them often do, as well.
Is anyone willing to share their favorite fad story? I’ll go first. Year is 2000. The book: Who Moved My Cheese. Whole department had to read aloud and pass around/ wear a Cheese Head when it was their turn to read.