… the simple answer appears to be that too few Russians understand what the word charlatan means.
For example, I received an invitation recently from a respected business association in Russia (one I’ve done work with) to attend a seminar with “one of the world’s currently most famous gurus in developing business.”
Never having heard of this particular guru - whose focus is unsurprisingly on anti-crisis measures - I looked him up on Wikipedia. His page is the picture above and in summary reads: page deleted due to ‘unambiguous advertising or promotion’ and ‘no references to support claims of notability’.
While I have no idea if the above ‘guru’ is a charlatan or not it does shows how easily Russia buys the snake oil salesman’s pitch every time. Simply put, business leaders here (or those that promote or attend such seminars) are particularly susceptible to the ‘myth of the silver bullet’ - the one right answer that will solve all their complex problems in one easy step.
In crisis times ‘silver-bullet seekers’ are particularly vulnerable to smooth, self-promoters. But if businesses in Russia continually have the wool pulled over their eyes by those with style but not enough substance to convince even Wikipedia editors that their notability is genuine, then who does the fault lie with?
So, let’s take a moment to look at some other - non-guru dependent - options for real anti-crisis measures. How about actively engaging the 87% of employees who, according to Gallup, are not currently actively engaged at work at all? Wouldn’t this deliver a massive return on your current monthly payroll investment at negligible extra cost.
This may actually be easier to do than you think. Most (though not all) people who work in your organisation have a deep understanding about what’s really happening on the frontline and why. They are often deeply immersed in what they are doing and have insights into what could be done better. Few, if any, external consultants or ‘gurus’ have this deep appreciation of your local context. So, you’d be better off listening intently to your people that you pay anyway than throwing good money after bad listening to someone else with little or no understanding of your operating context.
In a complex world this is the new simplicity: answers are already known - they are just widely distributed amongst all the people in your network. Your challenge as a leader is to tap into those knowledge flows and discover yourself how to nudge your organisation towards a viable future.
So, instead of paying for the same old snake oil that will have little to no chance of solving your business problems overnight learn to start unlocking the evolutionary potential of your present.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble; it's what you think you know for sure that just ain't so"
- Mark Twain