Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beware Of Geeks Bearing Tips

Today's title is a reference to the line, "Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts" which comes from the story of Troy and how the Greeks used a wooden horse to trick their way into the city. Sophocles described it as, "foes' gifts are no gifts; profit they bring none."

While I don't believe everyone who writes an article that offers 5 tips for this or 10 tips for that is necessarily a geek or one's enemy, I would argue that we should read such articles with caution. They typically address symptoms and almost never crawl inside underlying causes. Worse yet, they rarely ever transform how we practice our profession over the long term.

Can they be helpful from time to time? Sure. Do I read these articles just like everyone else? Of course, (heck, I've written a few, although I try to avoid it). It's hard not to. I'm an avid Ragan.com reader - the undisputed king of the "tips" article! Let's face it, any headline that promises a simple, numerically organized way to address a timely, complex issue can be hard turn away from. That's why writers write them and readers read them.

That said, even when we read a tip that really connects with us, its utility is too often short-lived. As good as the advice may be, we can't help but resume our familiar ways of doing business. Because I understand that "tips" articles will continue to be written for many decades to come, I only suggest that we balance our "tips" fascination with a deeper dive into underlying causes and the mindset that drives our basic assumptions. Only then do we stand a chance of converting short-term tips to life-long best practices.

Hmmm.....Sounds like a good article:
Five Ways To Convert Short-term Tips To Life-long Best Practices

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