Calling A Halt to Mindless Change

A Plea for Commonsense Management

John Macdonald

Publisher: Amacom, 1997, 244 pages

ISBN: 0-8144-0349-2

Keywords: Change Management, Management

Last modified: March 26, 2013, 9:45 a.m.

Business process re-engineering, TQM, empowerment, self-directed teams, Feng Shui. Sometimes it seems as if a relentless stream of quick-fix fads espoused by slick-tongued gurus has taken the corporate world by the throat and shaken it with a single, terrifying message: you must change or die. Each new fad is presented as the ultimate solution to every business ill. And each, invariable, fizzles out ingloriously or gets deeply, grievously misapplied.

Giving voice to the vast majority of corporate employees, the highly respected author and consultant John Macdonald says enough is enough. In this broad yet penetrating book, Macdonald makes the strong, rational, and long-awaited argument that common sense must be reinfused into management's decision-making process.

Businesses need to get back to managing their business, argues Macdonald. They must thoughtfully and methodically adapt not only those changes and practices that can improve their operations — rather than mindlessly, recklessly adopting every new fad being preached on the street. And just dangerous as the fads, warns Macdonald, are the ever-growing pantheon of "false gods," such as blind obedience to the finance department and the corporate lawyers, or an isolated executive "class" far removed from the front line, or a myopic focus on short-term measurements.

Though stinging in its criticisms, Calling a Halt to Mindless Change is not just a critique. Instead, it goes behind the doors of 3M, Arthur Andersen, Wal-Mart, Toyota, Motorola, and others to uncover their formulas for long-term success: knowing their business, developing their people, focusing on their customers, communicating constantly and openly, and more. In addition, the book shows managers and executives how to anticipate and deal with real changes, such as globalization, by employing smart, studied analysis and action rather than panicked re-engineering.

For everyone frustrated or sorely disillusioned with the fear- and fad-driven mentality of corporate life, this book presents a well-researched rebuttal to the myth that radical change is good for business — and an eloquent case for practicing solid, commonsense management.

  • Part One: Mindless Change
    1. Between Gods
    2. False Gods
    3. Entrenched Fads
    4. Recent Revolutions
    5. Mindless Education
  • Part Two: Pause for Thought
    1. Anticipating Change
    2. Whatever Happened to Buck Rogers?
    3. A Global Change
  • Part Three: Simple Common Sense
    1. Purpose
    2. Focus
    3. Communication
    4. People
    5. Stewardship


Calling A Halt to Mindless Change

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Good ******* (7 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:56 a.m.

Love it. At last someone writes as I think. It starts with current management fads and looks into the reasons they are implemented.


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