The life of a fad LO6041
Thu, 7 Mar 1996 23:41:14 -0800

Replying to LO5982 --

Summary - Fads have a life, and identity, of their own

This contributes [I hope] to a growing converstion concerning fads. It is
triggered by several postings on Business School Educn especially LO5982
from John Woods.

John cited

>Eileen Shapiro, Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Reclaiming the Courage to
Manage in the Age of Instant Answers, Addison-Wesley, 1995.

>She runs through several fads, showing that they all have some use until
we start looking at them as a panacea. In fact, I think we should not
overlook the fact that fads are usually based on some useful techniques
for better understanding what's going on in an organization and taking
some actions.
** end of quote **

[John. I haven't read the book. I will thanks]

My invitation is to stand in the fad's perspective. You are the CEO of
*NEW FAD INC*. Your shareholders will judge your reward by the number of
new minds you 'infect'. O.K?

IMHO there is a lifecycle here, not unlike that for any other product.

Stage 1. Your 'product' has got to have some sort of relevance out there.
Launching a product that the market not only don't know they want, bit
aren't ready for yet, blows it. Galileo had this problem if my memory
serves me right.

Stage 2. You have to find some niche. If your fad ain't relevant and
useful to someone forget it. Any fad the rest of us read about is almost
'by defininiton' going to have been useful to someone.

Stage 3. If you are 'lucky' [whole lot of questions there] you hit the
rising market. Life being what it is the chances are there are a lot of
essentially similar fads offering the same thing under a slightly
different name [or brand].

Stage 4. You [your fad] gets some kind of critical mass. Consultants with
a living to make, managers with a name to make, business school professors
with an image to make, journalists with copy to fill, or just plain
seekers after enlightenment start to play. Positive feedback rules OK. A
whole structure of articles, books, recipes, societies, conferences,
internet discussion lists etc. etc. emerges and coalesces around your fad.
You made it.

Stage 5. Somewhere in here a switch occurs. Remember the objective -
infected minds [believers if you like]. With that as the performance
measure utility, results delivered, stops being CSF One. If the fad has
enough momentum it is more important that people talk about it and 'buy
it' than that they get any real benefit out of doing so. The fads that win
through to this stage have it made until disillusion sets in then they
gradually wither and die. But, as fads, they know no different. Their role
in life is to go on replicating.

It makes sense to me. Does it to anyone else?. Am I stuck in something.
Reactions welcome.

If Price
The Harrow Partnership
Pewley Fort Guildford UK 

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