THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Loony Training Fads Are New Form of Snake Oil: “Your page-one article "Changing Drill: How Shell 's Move to Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal" (Nov. 2) is indicative of the loony and devastating training fads and cultural initiatives I've seen in Fortune 500 companies over the past quarter-century…” (ShellNews.net) Posted 14 Nov 04
Your page-one article "Changing Drill: How Shell 's Move to Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal" (Nov. 2) is indicative of the loony and devastating training fads and cultural initiatives I've seen in Fortune 500 companies over the past quarter-century as an organizational development consultant. From "future search" and "open meetings," to "right brain/left brain" and personality profiling, benighted executives have fallen for the siren song of easy words instead of hard work. At one meeting I documented more than $600,000 being wasted on a planning technique that called for participants to recall their pets' names from their youth. In these very pages we've read about "diversity consultants" having FAA employees smell each other's clothing. Nothing changes, except the nature of the fad and the amount spent.
There are two guilty parties here: Organization executives who desperately try to find patent oil remedies for their own mistakes, and external consultants who enable the former by jumping on every faddish bandwagon -- created by academics and others divorced from workplace reality -- that rolls down the pike. Please keep running these articles. Stockholders deserve to know just how badly profits are undermined behind the scenes when executives are busy building playgrounds or rappelling down mountains.
Alan Weiss, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Society for Advancement of Consulting
East Greenwich, R.I.
THE RELATED ARTICLE
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: How Shell’s Move To Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal: “The root of the problem, however, goes significantly further back than Sir Philip's reign, which began in 2001”: “These deeper roots are significant because the company has yet to make a full break with its past. Mr. van der Veer is a longtime Shell executive who sat on the committee that received -- and dallied over -- warnings about the accounting problems.": " In addition to its ambitious plans to discover new oil and gas cheaply, Shell under Sir Mark was redefining how it counted existing reserves.": "Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman from 1998 to 2001, remains on the board of Shell’s English parent… He declined to comment about reserves issues. And Shell still can't seem to get a handle on its reserves." (ShellNews.net) 2 Nov 04