Fast Company

Guru Gumbo Serves Millions

Consultant Debunking Unit

This light yet intriguing dish is perfect for any occasion. The recipe is condensed from the work of chef Andrzej Huczynski, a consultant and University of Glasgow Business School professor, whose "Management Gurus: What Makes Them and How to Become One" (Routledge, 1993) is a classic among management fad cookbook.

Ingredients

Start with on half-baked idea with very little nutritional value. The most popular management ideas of the century were appetizing because they were interesting, not because they were healthy. The idea also shouldn't be too fresh. Old ideas are easier for people to stomach than new idea - they cause much less psychological indigestion. The key is to whip up a "new idea using leftovers. The idea does not need to be in season, however. "Spiritual warriors" are ripe at the moment, while "leadership" is a perennial favorite. A sure best, then, is to patent your own recipe for "Spiritual Warrior Leadership" (SWL).

Preparation

First separate your idea into as many different batches as possible. To demonstrate its wonderful versatility. SWL books, SWL audio tapes, SWL case studies, SWL seminars, SWL organizational interventions, SWL systemwide programs. Then whip these batches into ready-to-eat meals, stressing their ease of preparation and consumption. Remember never to claim that your meal is actually healthy.

Presentation

Garnish your idea with mystifying "magic words" or three-letter acronyms (SWL). The sense of productivity that managers will derive from "unwrapping" your idea will more than make up for the fact that the idea itself is unproductive.

Serving Size

The relatively short attention spans of most managers require bite-sized portions, so cut your idea into three-minute "explanatory bleeps." Each manager's plate can fit seven bleeps, but to be truly spell-binding, you should serve them only two or three.

Number of Servings

In the millions. If not, go back to the cutting board and pick another idea. "How to Become a Management Guru," for example, has all the right ingredients" it's in season, it's not too fresh, and it doesn't seem to work.

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