- Taschenbuch: 256 Seiten
- Verlag: Simon & Schuster UK (6. Oktober 2008)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1847393365
- ISBN-13: 978-1847393364
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13 x 1,6 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 544.037 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Halo Effect: How Managers let Themselves be Deceived (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. Oktober 2008
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"I was taken by this book. It destroys myths concerning the attribution of success in the management literature using potent empirical arguments. It should stand as one of the most important management books of all time, and an antidote to those bestselling books by gurus presenting false patter and naive arguments." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
"In The Halo Effect, Phil Rosenzweig has done us all a great service by speaking the unspeakable. His iconoclastic analysis is a very welcome antidote to the kind of superficial, formulaic, and dumbed-down matter that seems to be the current stock in trade of many popular business books. It's the right book at the right time." -- John R. Kimberly, Henry Bower Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
"Business books all too rarely combine real-world savvy with scientific rigor. Rosenzweig's book is an outstanding exception -- it's a superb work and long overdue." -- Philip E. Tetlock, Lorraine Tyson Mitchell II Chair in Leadership and Communication, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
"Rosenzweig doesn't only poke fun at the mass of bad writing and bad science in the management world. He explains why it is so bad -- and how you can learn from it, despite the efforts of the authors." -- John Kay, Financial Times columnist and author of Everlasting Light Bulbs: How Economics Illuminates the World -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
Why do some companies prosper while others fail? Despite great amounts of research, many of the studies that claim to pin down the secret of success are based in pseudoscience. THE HALO EFFECT is the outcome of that pseudoscience, a myth that Philip Rosenzweig masterfully debunks in THE HALO EFFECT. THE HALO EFFECT highlights the tendency of experts to point to the high financial performance of a successful company and then spread its golden glow to all of the company's attributes - clear strategy, strong values, and brilliant leadership. But in fact, as Rosenzweig clearly illustrates, the experts are not just wrong, but deluded. Rosenzweig suggests a more accurate way to think about leading a company, a robust and clearheaded approach that can save any business from ultimate failure.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
Welche anderen Artikel kaufen Kunden, nachdem sie diesen Artikel angesehen haben?
Kann ich jedem empfehlen, der über Halbwahrheiten und Mythen im Management hinausgehen will.
Lehrt nebenbei kritisches Denken - eine Eigenschaft, die Unternehmen angeblich ja wollen. In Wahrheit wollen sie natürlich brave Lämmer...
Manager verstehen hohe Performanz in der Regel als das Ergebnis von Strategie und Implementierung. Beide Aspekte unterliegen einer Unsicherheit, die zwar ausgeblended wird aber eben der Grund für die Nichtgarantie von Geschäftserfolg ist. Die Genialität des Buches liegt zum einen darin, dass zum einen nicht des Lesers Wunsch nach Komfort befriedigt wird (deshalb wohl auch kein Bestseller!) und zum anderen das akzeptierte wissenschaftliche Vorgehen im Bereich Management/ Wirtschaft in Frage gestellt wird. Das Buch enthält viele Impulse und Fragestellungen und weniger Ratschläge. Das ist gut!
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The world of business is complicated, uncertain and unpredictable. A company's performance depends upon a variety of factors beyond the actions of its managers. These include currency shifts, competitors' actions, shifts in consumer preferences, technological advances, etc. The first delusion is the Halo Effect, the tendency to look at a company's overall performance and make attributions about its culture, leadership, values, and more. Our thinking is prejudiced by financial performance. In good times, companies are praised and their success is attributed to a variety of internal factors. In bad times, companies are criticized and these factors, which may not have changed, are attributed for the failures. The reality is more complicated and dependent upon uncertain and unpredictable factors.
An interesting section of this book is the one on the delusion of absolute performance. Company performance is relative, not absolute. A company can improve and fall further behind its rivals at the same time. For instance, GM today produces cars with better quality and more features than in the past. But its loss in market share is owed to a myriad of factors, including Asian competitors.
This is an excellent book because it will make you THINK. Is an oil company great if its profits soared when oil prices went up? Can the formulas used by successful companies in the 80s or 90s be applied to guarantee success today? A professor once told me that to predict future performance by analyzing past data is like driving a car forward while looking at the rear view mirror. In the appendix of this book there are tables showing the performance of the companies studied in "In Search of Excellence" and "Built to Last". It is interesting to note the difference in performance in the years before and after these studies.
The author, Phil Rosenzweig, is a professor at IMD in Switzerland and former Harvard Business School professor. He wrote this book to stimulate discussion and help managers become wiser - "more discerning, more appropriately skeptical, and less vulnerable to simplistic formulas and quick fix remedies." In my case, this book has given me a new perspective on business books.
The following is a brief summary of the nine delusions:
1. Halo Effect: Tendency to look at a company's overall performance and make attributions about its culture, leadership, values, and more.
2. Correlation and Causality: Two things may be correlated, but we may not know which one causes which.
3. Single Explanations: Many studies show that a particular factor leads to improved performance. But since many of these factors are highly correlated, the effect of each one is usually less than suggested.
4. Connecting the Winning Dots: If we pick a number of successful companies and search for what they have in common, we'll never isolate the reasons for their success, because we have no way of comparing them with less successful companies.
5. Rigorous Research: If the data aren't of good quality, the data size and research methodology don't matter.
6. Lasting Success: Almost all high-performing companies regress over time. The promise of a blueprint for lasting success is attractive but unrealistic.
7. Absolute Performance: Company performance is relative, not absolute. A company can improve and fall further behind its rivals at the same time.
8. The Wrong End of the Stick: It may be true that successful companies often pursued highly focused strategies, but highly focused strategies do not necessarily lead to success.
9. Organizational Physics: Company performance doesn't obey immutable laws of nature and can't be predicted with the accuracy of science - despite our desire for certainty and order.
Overall, I found this to be an excellent book and recommend it to all managers.
Phil Rosenzweig, a professor at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and strategy consultant, argues that much of business thinking is dominated by nine delusions:
1. The Halo Effect - many performance drivers are simply attributions based on prior performance.
2. The Delusion of Correlation and Causality - Two things may be correlated but we may not know which is the base cause.
3. The Delusion of Single Explanations - Many explanations are highly correlated; the effect of each one is usually less than suggested.
4. The Delusion of Connecting the Winning Dots - It is difficult to isolate the reasons for success. There is no way of comparing them with less successful companies.
5. The Delusion of Rigorous Research - If the data are not good, it does not matter how sophisticated the research methods appear to be.
6. The Delusion of Lasting Success - Almost all high-performing companies regress over time.
7. The Delusion of Absolute Performance - Company performance is relative, not absolute.
8. The Delusion of the Wrong End of the Stick - Highly-focused companies are often successful; yet highly-focused companies are not all successful.
9. The Delusion of Organizational Physics - Despite our quest for certainty and order, company performance does not obey the laws of nature and science.
In his final two chapters, Rosenzweig suggests ways for managers to replace delusions with a more discerning way to understand company performance.
This book carries no promises of success. Rosenzweig guarantees no successful results. He believes, and I agree, that a clear-eyed, critical and thoughtful approach to management is better than the causal tripe that dominates today's business bookshelves.
If you've read many business best-sellers, you may have noticed they all sound the same. And jeez, are they trite. Focus. Treat people well. Be flexible, yet focused. Blah, blah blah. Nice generalities, slightly too vague to mean anything, yet specific enough to sound meaningful. And why are they all the same? Thank The Halo Effect that gives the book its title. The Halo Effect observes that when you ask people about a successful company (or successful leaders) after the success is known, they always give the same explanation: we had great culture, teamwork, focus, flexibility, and people. Thus, after-the-fact interviews are useless in understanding what really makes a business successful, since you can predict in advance what people will say. And they aren't saying it because it's true, they're saying it because of The Halo Effect.
The Halo Effect is the first of the "Business Delusions that Deceive Managers." Actually, the delusions chronicled deceive business _researchers_. Rosensweig travels from In Search of Excellence through Good to Great, mercilessly showing how each book's research is faulty. Very faulty. The books produce $60,000 speaking fees for the authors, but their business advice is dicey at best.
Some Delusions can be fixed by careful researchers. The Halo Effect vanishes when researchers look only at measurable data, rather than subjective reports. Or consider The Delusion of Connecting the Winning Dots. Any study of the excellent must contrast against the not-excellent to get good results. Imagine surveying 50 Billionaires who all say, "I ate cereal for breakfast growing up." Unless we find that non-Billionaires didn't eat cereal for breakfast, we can't say that eating cereal leads to wealth. Many business best-sellers only study the winning companies (indeed, the losers aren't around to study). But a study like Good to Great conquers this Delusion by contrasting successes with non-successes.
Sadly, other Delusions can't be fixed. The Delusion of Absolute Performance says that businesses operate in industries with competition that's changing all the time. There's no universal set of rules that work, because competitors change what they do, and in the new landscape, old habits may no longer lead to success. Even a perfect study design can't know the future of competition, and can't guarantee that results will work in the future.(*)
The Halo Effect and the Delusions took up almost the whole book. In the last two chapters, the author offers some glimmers of hope. While there are no simplistic Five Steps, Rosenzweig says careful attention to strategic decision making and excellent execution can lead to success. Learning to evaluate probabilities, think in terms of strategic choices, and execute superbly can help businesses do well at any given moment.
As a book, the Halo Effect was less than perfect. The pacing was off. It spent way too much time on the stories and the Delusions. By page 120, I felt like I'd gotten the point. The Halo Effect is Bad, and pervasive in research. As the book started delving into the other Delusions, they seemed almost an afterthought (and many weren't even given as much as their own chapter). A better devision would give each Delusion equal treatment, and spend much more time delving into Rosenzweig's keys to greater success: strategic decision-making and execution. In many ways, the book read more as a warning to future business researchers than a useful book for managers.
That said, it was a good read. And despairingly, the Delusions are real enough that you remember. Even when you want to suspend disbelief and revel in a Cinderella story of Fairy Godperson CEOs, it's hard. I attended a book launch reception the night I finished The Halo Effect. Instead of Oohing and Aahing, I munched hors d'oeuvres and tallied fallacies in the book's assumptions and methodology. As everyone else lined up for the author's autograph, I donned my jacket and vanished into the night, feeling like I'd just witnessed the birth of another useless fad.
When it comes to running a business, it pays to be fact-based. This book will help you separate the fact from fiction. But if you want Cinderella stories of Fair Godperson CEOs and the Magical Five Steps, books with large type about Moving Cheese are the way to go.
(*) Halfway through the book I invented my own unfixable delusion: the Delusion of Ethical Business. If UnethicalCo is winning in the marketplace by publishing fraudulent advertisement and engaging in restraint of trade, will its employees report that to researchers? Hardly! They'll say, "our visionary CEO leads us to success." Yet in her book Value Shift, Lynn Payne cites surveys where 1 in 3 people say their company engages in unethical or illegal business practice.
The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait (for example, of an individual) is influenced by a general impression (of that individual). This effect was first postulated by Edward L. Thorndike, an American psychologist who conducted research into how World War I soldiers were appraised by their superiors. He found high cross-correlation between all positive and all negative traits - in plainspeak, that means that soldiers who were found to be good on one or two traits were rated as good on all other traits as well, while those who were seen to be bad on one or two traits were rated poorly on all other traits as well.
Lest we think that this is an affliction confined to senior World War I army officers, it isn't. Pretty much all human beings suffer from this bias - apparently it is a mechanism used by the human brain to manage the complexity of the world. This, for example, is why celebrity endorsement of products works, even when it is fairly apparent that the celebrity has no credentials - or credibility - to endorse those products.
Most of us also seem to intuitively realize the existence of this effect - for example, this is why people go to extraordinary lengths to put on their best behavior in the presence of somebody in authority.
Now, a book called The Halo Effect ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers, published in February 2007 by Free Press, sets out show how this effect may color our perceptions of company performance. At first glance, this is the book the business world was waiting for, and didn't know it. It's a good, down-to-earth look at the various studies, scholarly and otherwise, that have claimed over the years to uncover the secret sauce that drives great companies. This is a book full of solid horse sense - the most refreshing book in years in a genre notorious for pompous claims and buzzphrases.
It dedicates itself to debunking simplistic "theories" that purport to answer the core question of what really determines corporate performance. The core argument of the Halo Effect is that when a company performs well, we shower high ratings on every one of it's management traits such as leadership, culture, strategy, execution, et al. When the company performs poorly, we promptly buckle over to the other extreme, demonizing the very same leadership, culture, etc.*!
Along the way, it unveils eight other "delusions" that frequently afflict attempts to answer this question. In buttressing its arguments, the book quotes from authorities as varied as George Bernard Shaw and the legendary Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman. Personally, perhaps the best takeaway from this book was the exhortation that one should not select a sample for study based on the dependent variable - for example, if you want to study if a new technque for teaching mathematics to children works, you should study how kids who were taught using that technique fared, but you should also look at children who weren't taught that technique! **
The book comes with cast-iron credentials - the author is Prof. Phil Rozenzweig, who is a PhD from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught at Harvard Business School and IMD, Switzerland. His candor is incredibly refreshing, and the fact that most of the "authorities" on this subject that he takes on are people of his own - business school professors - shows admirable boldness.
One criticism that may be leveled at the book is that is sometimes too quick to assume that the data used by various studies were "contaminated" by halos; it seems to me that this is too facile, and perhaps unfair, a conclusion. We should probably credit the authors of those studies, the references they consulted, and the subjects they interviewed with a greater degree of discretion and diligence than that. Another thing I found myself wishing the author would refrain from is the extent to which he bases evidence for the delusions on news reports in the business press, such as BusinessWeek, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. These are written by reporters under stifling deadlines, often under pressure to sensationalize the mundane - a fact that does not escape most discerning readers. There can be a smattering of these, but the author would probably have done better to focus his considerable energies on well-funded studies done over a long period of time, with purport of scholarly rigor, and papers and books*** based on such studies. The readers of such reports, papers and books are typically asked to suspend common sense and prior experience, and submit to scholarly authority derived from apparent academic rigor, and it is these for which the greatest disapprobation should be reserved.
So, what does work, according to the author? Well, he concludes, somewhat disappointingly, that it's the right strategic choice, and good execution!
But this is not to take away from the otherwise excellent content of the book. It's job is not to give us formulas. It's purport is to caution us that business performance is far more complex, and far less amenable to simplistic analysis than we tend to think, and it achieves that goal with admirable panache!
* I have referred to this "binary" thinking as the Extreme Tendency elsewhere, albeit in a somewhat different context - that of foreseeing the prospects of emerging technologies!
** Later in the book Rozenzweig shows that even observing this precept doesn't help much in uncovering what drives corporate success, but it's a very important principle to keep in mind nonetheless.
*** That, without openly claiming anything of the kind, actually intend to expand the fame of their authors as management Gurus, not to say anything of their pockets!
The_halo_effect Moreover, Rosenzweig argues that media is no less error-prone in divining the reasons for a company's performance than gurus who write books on company performance.
He uses two prominent case histories to support the latter claim. Cisco and ABB. He recalls for readers how before the dotcom bubble collapse Cisco's John Chambers was widely regarded as the world's best manager and Cisco itself as without surpass in its organizational structure and corporate culture. Beyond that, according to the common view expressed in media, no company operated with greater customer centricity.
Within months of the dotcom collapse the same media that had virtually canonized Chambers were ripping his reputation as a great CEO to shreds. Cisco's was criticized for lack of attention to customer needs. This was alleged to have played a major role in its downturn in revenues and consequent precipitous loss in stock value. Writers told how the company's organization was fragmented and its culture grossly defective.
Rosenzweig tells a similar story of the Swiss-Swedish power company ABB. From being one of Europe's most highly regarded company to being a favorite whipping boy in media within not very many months, ABB turned out to be another example of what Rosenzweig calls the Halo Effect.
As Rosenzweig explains it, the Halo Effect refers to the aura surrounding a company and its leadership that promotes gross generalizations about its nature. When a company is outperforming, most everyone assumes everything about the company is exemplary. When the same company is underperforming, most everyone assumes everything about the company is defective.
Rosenzweig reminds us that externalities accounted mainly for Cisco's and ABB's decline in fortune. Cisco's downturn for example was inextricably linked to its Internet customers who flamed out in droves when the dotcom bubble burst. No amount of executive brilliance could have stayed the fiscal injury inflected by the dotcom bust.
Rosenzweig takes on the business book genre with lethal dispatch. While observing that some of the principles presented in Tom Peters and Bob Waterman's classic, In Search of Excellent, have wonderfully withstood the test of time, he say Peters and Waterman's prose is filled with extractions from corporate halos. However, he ruthlessly guts Jim Collins' two books, Built to Last and Good to Great for their errors of logic and flawed judgments. Rosenzweig avers that Collins' and most other writers of business books usually ignore external influences on a company's performance over which a company has no control
I do have some problems with Rosenzweig's total dismissal of the Halo Effect. A Halo Effect can have positive value to a company. When employees bask in the iridescent glow of the admiration and love flowing from customers, suppliers, the community, investors and employees themselves, it serves to boost performance to even higher levels.
What does it matter that under a cold, clinical light their company has warts - isn't perfect? Perhaps unlike any other time in human history, we desperately need things - companies, people, institutions, ideas - in which we can believe. We have maybe grown to prone to demand perfection. A Halo Effect - like that cast by New Jersey-based Commerce Bank's philosophy of WOW! can be a wonderful, comforting good thing.
Notwithstanding some nits here and there with The Halo Effect, it is for me one of the most thought-provoking books on business in some years. Writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls The Halo Effect, "One of the most important management books of all time."
Whether Nassim is right or not, I suspect that you will never read another book on business the same after being exposed to Rosenzweig's diligent analysis of how we are so often taken in by writers offering us their silver bullets for achieving sure-fire success for our companies.