Chasing The Wrong Solutions

by Jay Deragon on 08/05/2013

same old thinking

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  Albert Einstein

Why do so many companies chase the latest and most popular buzz words and fads offered by popular consultants only to have their results fall flat? Because consulting buzz words and fads target the wrong problem.

Today’s business problems won’t be solved simply by applying old improvement theories or by chasing strategic initiatives to become a social business. Old improvement theories and strategic initiatives aimed at becoming a social business are yesterday’s solutions to old business models but they do not address an emerging larger problem.

Evidence of a Larger Problem

It seems as though that we’ve forgotten to learn from past mistakes so we keep repeating the same thinking hoping the results will be different this time.  A new technology enters the market or a new strategic approach is introduced and is hyped as the “holy grail” of prevailing business wisdom.  Companies adopt these technologies and strategies as solutions without thinking about the real problem. An example of this would be social technology and its application to marketing and business strategy.

A WSJ article titled “Social Business Moves from Fad to Fact” states: “The 2013 Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project finds companies face significant challenges maturing their social business initiatives, even as they increasingly buy into the value of these efforts.”  

“Use of social software is moving from a fad to an essential business capability, according to the “2013 Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project,” conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte.”

Despite burgeoning social business activity, companies’ efforts largely appear stuck in first gear. Respondents cite three major barriers to progress: lack of an overall strategy, competing priorities, and lack of a proven business case.”

“Those respondents who regard their companies’ social business initiatives as more mature in the marketplace say their companies have built momentum by applying social tools and technologies to specific business challenges and assessing the results. As well, they integrate social tools and practices into a range of functions, such as strategy, operations, and even daily decision-making.”

So based on the WSJ article it appears as those previous social media solutions were fads but those who have created “social business strategies“, implying the use of social tools and practices into a range of functions, are making more progress and seeing more results thus making social business strategies a fact rather than a fad.  History shows that over 70% of business strategies fail so one would assume that history may indeed repeat itself.  Could we be chasing the wrong solutions?

The disruptive changes occurring in every market are not being caused by social tools and related business practices.  To understand the causes one has to look beyond the tools, tactics and strategies and consider the philosophical shifts that are influencing the economics of markets on a global basis.

Philosophical shifts represent transformational changes in thinking. Before you hire a consultant to help you figure out what to do (strategies & tactics) maybe it would be wiser to find someone who can help you learn how to think.


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