Chauncey Gardiner, better known as Chance, in Jerzi Kosinski’s contemporary classic Being There, is a man whose entire experience prior to the events of the book exist within a strange, late 20th century American Eden: gardening on the estate of his adoptive father and watching TV. Chance has not tasted the fruits of knowledge, forbidden or otherwise. Yet, when those from beyond the estate discover Chance, they come to see his simple adages as the essence of wisdom and brilliance. The book, among other things, is a study in credulity: of the readiness to believe in what Chance says notwithstanding a total absence of evidence or logic.
My favorite piece of Chance’s wisdom is: First comes Fall. Then Winter. Then comes the Spring. Then Summer.
I was reminded of this truism yesterday when I chanced upon the latest wisdom from Ram Charan in Strategy + Business, a magazine produced by Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Here’s the teaser from the table of contents:
Sharpening Your Business Acumen By Ram Charan
How do executives at leading companies like Thomson Corporation, GE, Apple, and Verizon anticipate external trends and craft their strategies accordingly? They follow a six-step thinking process…
Allow Chauncey Gardiner to increase your business acumen in only three steps:
1. Seasons change.
2. Plants must change.
3. Gardeners must change too.
Translation: The world changes a lot. So must our businesses as well as our competitors. Thus, those who run businesses must see these changes and act on them if they are to have business acumen.
Or, credulity of business people?