The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect

... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

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With two new chapters and a new preface, the award-winning book The Halo Effect continues to unmask the delusions found in the corporate world and provides a sharp understanding of what drives business success and failure.

Too many of today’s most prominent management gurus make steel-clad guarantees based on claims of irrefutable research, promising to reveal the secrets of why one company fails and another succeeds, and how you can become the latter. Combining equal measures of solemn-faced hype and a wide range of popular business delusions, statistical and otherwise, these self-styled experts cloud our ability to think critically about the nature of success.

Central among these delusions is the Halo Effect—the tendency to focus on the high financial performance of a successful company and then spread its golden glow to all its attributes—clear strategy, strong values, brilliant leadership, and outstanding execution. But should the same company’s sales head south, the very same attributes are universally derided—suddenly the strategy was wrong, the culture was complacent, and the leader became arrogant.

The Halo Effect not only identifies these delusions that keep us from understanding business performance, but also suggests a more accurate way to think about leading a company. This approach—focusing on strategic choice and execution, while recognizing the inherent riskiness of both—clarifies the priorities that managers face.

Brilliant and unconventional, irreverent and witty, The Halo Effect is essential reading for anyone wanting to separate fact from fiction in the world of business.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476784038 | 
  • June 2014
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Read an Excerpt

The Halo Effect

Chapter One How Little We Know

How little we know, how much to discover…
Who cares to define what chemistry this is?
Who cares, with your lips on mine, how ignorant bliss is?

“How Little We Know (How Little It Matters)” Words by Carolyn Leigh, music by Philip Springer, 1956

In January 2004, after a particularly disastrous holiday season, Lego, the Danish toy company, fired its chief operating officer. No one doubted that Poul Plougmann had to go. Miserable Christmas sales were the last straw at the... see more

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