Apr 6, 2004

Guru Nation | workforce.com

Workforce's Article on the Guru Nation takes a look at the world of the Management Guru:

Some snippets
- Management gurus have become the rock stars of the business world, complete with entourages of support staff and private jets. They command fees as high as $100,000 for a single appearance.

- (Tom) Peters, a 62-year-old dynamo who pulls in $65,000 or more for a speaking engagement, takes a no-nonsense approach to the business of addressing the business world. He buys 100 or so books each month in search of a few new ideas he can use at the podium.

- (Gary) Hamel’s Strategos, for example, now has 20 consultants traveling the world with this message: executives should think of their companies as "a portfolio of competencies" and understand the fundamental preconditions for developing complex strategies. Hamel rakes in $50,000 for delivering keynote speeches at events such as the Microsoft CEO Summit, the World Economic Forum and the Fortune 500 CEO Roundtable. At 49, he clearly has established himself as a thought leader.

- But perhaps no one’s machine is as well oiled as Stephen Covey’s. His firm, FranklinCovey, the result of a merger of Franklin Quest and the Covey Leadership Center in 1997, had grown into a $307 million behemoth by 2003, with more than 6,000 clients worldwide, including 90 of the Fortune 100. The company also operates 143 retail stores, as well as e-commerce and mail-order operations. It sells audiotapes and videotapes, binders, books and planning and productivity software. Altogether, FranklinCovey operates in 50 countries and has 2,000 employees.

- "The ideas always sound good, but making them work requires ongoing consulting fees and a boatload of products," says one Fortune 500 executive. "Getting people to buy in and follow through over the long term is a hit-or-miss proposition."

- Crainer, who ranks top management gurus at a Web site called Thinkers 50, believes that their popularity is unlikely to fade anytime soon. "Practical application of most business ideas is a rarity," he says. "Management is a magpie science, picking up pieces of wisdom from all over the place, and managers are natural magpies, picking up pearls of wisdom where they find them." Perhaps The Economist magazine best summed up the guru game in a 1994 article. It noted: "The only thing worse than slavishly following management theory is ignoring it completely."