There is no magic bullet

Dec 05, 2021

If you’re running a business, you have to pick and choose carefully what information you consume and how you process and employ it in your own business.

These days, if you follow or participate in any business social media like I do – and I’m speaking particularly about LinkedIn and Twitter – you will be constantly barraged with content from a wide variety of business and leadership “experts.” Lord knows, I put out a lot of it myself.

It wasn’t always like this. We used to have to really search for this kind of stuff pre-internet. You could subscribe to certain magazines or hear about a book from a friend, or go to the library and physically search through the obscure management journals if there was something specific you were looking for information on. Today, all you have to do is get on the right social media platform and quickly be overwhelmed. There is just so much out there.

While it’s great that there is so much free information, too much of it in my opinion offers up what I would call a magic bullet for whatever problems or issues you are facing. It sounds so simple. “Do these eight things,” or “Do these five things” and everything will be perfect.

But the truth is, it rarely works like that. Things just aren’t that simple. The people involved and their relationships with each other and their individual histories – and the company, and how it started and grew and what its history is of successes and failures – all greatly affect what you need to do and how you need to do it to solve whatever problem the organization is facing or capitalize on whatever opportunity the company has in front of it.

This oversimplification is tempting to embrace. Who doesn’t want a simple set of steps and a plan to follow? We all could be tempted by that. The fact is, it’s easy to be seduced by the people and the ideas they espouse.

There are some people out there – some of the largest “consumers” of this kind of information – who are “management junkies,” for lack of a better term. And while I respect their constant quest for how to do things better – because that in itself is admirable – I don’t appreciate the schizophrenia that comes from it. I also know how costly it can be to the leader’s credibility with their people when they go from one trendy initiative to the next. They (the employees) view it as a lack of consistency and a lack of some kind of substantive and comprehensive business philosophy that guides everything the leader does.

I guess the point of my treatise here is that if you are running a business – let’s say an AEC business, since that is the bulk of The Zweig Letter’s readership – you have to pick and choose carefully what information you consume and how you process it and employ it in your own business. Not all sources have equal value and not all recipes will work with your particular situation. The “art of management” requires you to be discriminating and thoughtful in terms of how you use all this stuff. If there is a use for it, you need to decide what that is. You also need to be wary of how every change you want to make will be perceived by your people – most of whom won’t have the same perspective that you have.

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.