7 Destructive Myths That Stifle Business Growth

(While celebrating my 25th anniversary with Brenda this week on the Disney Dream luxury cruise ship, here is an updated version of a previous blog that needs to be reviewed again by all of us – yes, me too!)

It’s easy for marketplace believers to succumb to commonly held and often repeated myths on productivity and success.

Businessman forecasting a crystal ball

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Over the years I’ve heard literally hundreds of pithy comments from self-proclaimed “gurus” that are simply not true, and in many ways, destructive.

7 Destructive Business Myths

Here are 7 destructive business myths that can stall your productivity and success with simple ways to overcome them.

Myth #1: Multi-tasking increases my productivity.

The reality is that God designed our brains to focus on only one cognitive activity at a time.  Many research studies conclude that it can take up to 25 minutes or more to regain your focus after being distracted, interrupted, or attempting to multi-task – not to mention the overall lack of productivity and quality.

A great way to avoid the trap of multi-tasking is time blocks. As I coach all my clients, block off large chunks of time for the big, important stuff. For example, I block off Monday & Friday mornings from 8-11:30 for writing and nothing but writing: blog posts, white papers, books, etc.  I often turn off my email!

It’s not always easy, but focused time blocks for your top priorities are essential for higher productivity.

Myth #2: Bigger is better.

Bigger is not always better – think government!

Bigger is not always better – think government!

The reality is that better is better.  One time the former founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, was being pushed by his entire executive to borrow money, open stores, and rapidly expand to keep up with a fast-growth competitor.  In an uncharacteristic outburst of intensity, Mr. Cathy interrupted the team’s presentation, pounded the board room table and exclaimed, “I am sick and tired of hearing you say we must be bigger. What we must do is get better. And when we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger!”

Rather than strive to always get bigger, always keep getting better.

Myth #3: Customers only care about price.

The reality is that customers care more about value than price.  Is price important?  Yes, up to a point.  But if the only thing you compete upon is price, there will always be someone else who will charge less – always!

Instead, build value into your services, products, relationships, and offerings.  Understanding and delivering on what your customer values is far more profitable than merely competing on price.

Delivering real customer values is far more profitable than competing on price.

Myth #4: Competitors are your enemies.

The reality is that competitors could become great allies.

Your strengths could offset your competitors weakness for both your clients and theirs.  Even Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, became friendly allies with Bill Gates at Microsoft when Jobs decided to offer Microsoft compatibility in his products.  Yes, the Apple-freaks freaked, but in the end, it proved to be a valuable and profitable alliance for both companies.

Examine ways you could potentially team up with others in your same space.  You may be surprised at their reception and enthusiasm.

Myth #5: Longer hours increase my productivity. 

The reality (why do I even need to mention this) is that longer hours ultimately produce burnout.

Yes, there will be times you need to invest long hours at work, but it should never become routine, expected, or “that’s just how we do things around here.”  When you launch a company, new line, or expand your services, you will likely work some long hours.  But you must not allow this to become your norm.

Take time to get away, recharge, and rethink what really must be done vs. what are nice-to-do’s. Dump the nice-to-do’s and you’ll decrease your work hours while you increase your productivity.

Myth #6: Bosses motivate employees.

Think about this one.  Can your boss really motivate you?

I’m not talking about offering cash or related incentives for short-term higher performance – anybody can do that (and most of them don’t really work).  I’m talking about deep-down, to-the-bone motivation.

The reality is that we motivate ourselves.  As a manager, it then becomes your responsibility to uncover what motivates each employee.  All you have to do is ask them – they’ll tell you.  Then create an environment (schedules, relationships, culture) where your team can not wait to get to work.

Myth #7: Success equals money.

All of us have said at one time or another “Oh, if I only had a little more money everything would be OK.” This focus is on earthly ROI: Return on Investment.

For the vast majority of businesspeople I’ve worked with and spoken to, their success is measured on more than just profit.  Their success is not about cash flow or the size of their investment portfoio, it is more about the impact they have on others be it family, friends, colleague, customers, or community.

Now my focus is at a higher level, not on temporal, earth-based success (ROI). My passion and purpose is firmly rooted in EROI: Eternal Return on Investment, what I need to be and do to receive heavenly rewards for the coming trillions upon trillions of years ahead of me.

Other Business Myths

I’ve listed seven secular business myths that need to die.

What are others you hear? Let’s have a fun string on other myths floating around that marketplace believers should not embrace. Thanks for joining the conversation!

About Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Harris serves as a business strategist to executive teams who desire a marketplace breakthrough. A former Fortune 500 executive, Dr. Jim is the author of numerous award-winning business books including Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business, The Impacter: A Parable on Transformational Leadership and Finding and Keeping Great Employees.


  • Eric Snyder says:

    Myth #8: Take advantage of your vendors’ credit by not paying your bills until they call and bug you for payment. While you may gain a few days of “float” with your cash, your credibility suffers. When credibility suffers, your witness is compromised and your EROI is diminished. Pay your bills according to agreed upon terms and build strong relationship with those who supply your business.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Yes, so good Eric. While serving as a Branch Manager for a large truck leasing company, I had one client who ALWAYS paid 91 days out…and laughed about it! Why? It was a large account, and since we were already 90-days in the cash flow hole, Corporate would not let me fire them. Irks me to this day. I encourage my clients to pay early — imagine the favor you’ll receive for both your ROI & EROI!

  • Eric Majors says:

    Based on my own experience from conducting business all over the world the single most destructive recurring practice is when employees, partners or even clients fail to notify you in advance when they know in advance that they will not be able to perform or deliver as agreed. Many people knowingly compensate for known impending failures by going into avoidance, becoming unresponsive to communications or fabricating false excuses which creates even more unnecessary damage for everyone. Failures are a common occurrence, but failing to maintain the integrity of your word leads to personal destruction, poverty and damage to others.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Integrity is more important than profit, for deep integrity will grow customer trust – thin integrity will destroy it. Thank you for our insightful comment.

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