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What was your favourite management fad? Who preferred power-napping to having meetings standing up, or buzz-pods to wearing an “I’m busy” hat in the office? What price mission statements, values, or the street-fighting cachet of a Six Sigma black belt?

Of the current top 100 FTSE companies, half of them did not exist before 1972. The axiom that change is the only constant is especially pertinent to business. Indeed, it is relevant not only to the fortunes of companies but also to the fads to which the managers in those companies can often succumb.

Why do so many management innovations fail to stand the test of time? In 30 years of working in management development, Kevin Yates has seen fads come and go. “New methodologies usually fall out of use because they are too complicated for a time-pressured manager to...

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