Very nice post last week by Brian McCann at Management R&D: Business for Boneheads. He makes a very good point. You can’t really interview a bunch of successful companies and reach useful conclusions that a reader can take to his or her own situation.
My take on this, slightly different angle from Brian’s but in complete agreement, is that as soon as you adopt something that worked for somebody else, you are already changing it and so it is no longer original, and neither are you. I don’t think he means that studying other businesses is bad, but simply that you can’t just extrapolate to a different situation.
This makes good sense.